The Year of the Green Monkey is the year 4702 on
the Chinese lunar calendar. The name of the year comes from the
stem-branch system developed by the Chinese to count the days,
months, and years. There are 10 stems, the yin and yang of the
five elements: metal, fire, wood, water, and earth. The branches
are represented by animals: the rat, cow, tiger, rabbit, dragon,
snake, horse, sheep, monkey, chicken, dog, and pig. The cycle
begins with the wood rat, and ends on the water pig.
The Chinese use the two together to form a 60-year cycle that
is repeated. The Green Wood Monkey is the 21st on this cycle,
and the last Wood Monkey year was 60 years ago in 1944. The
Green Wood Monkey and is the combination of the yang Wood
and the Monkey.
The Wood, which is symbolized by a tree, also signifies green,
giving the name of the year.
The New Year is celebrated by wearing red, printing poems on
red paper then decorating the paper, and giving children money
in red envelopes. The color red is symbolic of fire and is
believed to drive away bad luck. Fireworks lit on this day
are also believed
to drive away bad luck. In Hawai‘i, Chinatown sponsors
a number of events to celebrate the New Year.
The New Year’s celebrations often begin one to two weeks
before the New Year. On Jan. 10, the Chinatown Merchants Association
sponsored the “Night in Chinatown,” a street festival
with food booths, arts and crafts, entertainment, music, and
demonstrations throughout Chinatown. The event, which drew
more than 10,000 people, began with a parade at 4 p.m. that
from the corner of Richards and Hotel streets and ended on
On Jan. 16, Chinatown held an Open House Night featuring
traditional Chinese Lion Dances. Considered a blessing,
the lions are believed
to chase away evil spirits. They also symbolize good luck,
wealth, and long life. Local Chinese Lion dance groups visit
nearby businesses during this festival to bring them good
If you missed all of this, there are still other smaller
celebrations that take place throughout the community.
Go to chinatownhi.com
for more information.