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5 Hawai’i New Year Good Luck Traditions

December 21st, 2020 Culture
5 Hawai’i New Year Good Luck Traditions

We could all use some good fortune in 2021. After all, the close of a year like this one is well worth some merrymaking! Hawai’i residents welcome in the New Year with revelry and unique foods believed to bring prosperity. If you really want to stack the deck in your favor, consider trying these five Hawai’i New Year good luck traditions.

Although we strive to provide the most current information, due to COVID-19, attractions, events, and restaurants mentioned may be closed or cancelled without notice. We recommend checking City and County of Honolulu or State of Hawai‘i mandates and individual attractions for operating hours, updates, and social distancing measures before visiting. Please travel responsibly and follow mask requirements and social distancing procedures when visiting. Hauʻoli Makahiki Hou!

Enjoy a Plate of Sashimi

Say ‘Aloha’ to the past year and welcome the promise of a fresh start with a plate of fresh sashimi. Consisting of thinly sliced raw fish (most commonly tuna, squid, scallop, and octopus), sashimi is often served with soy sauce, wasabi, and ginger paste. Eating the delicacy is a popular New Year tradition in Hawai‘i that has roots in Japanese culture and is believed to bring luck in the coming year. Enjoy a plate of the fresh, raw cuts of fish with friends and family. Visit our guide on where to find the best sashimi in Honolulu.

Go on the First Day Hike

Ring in a lucky New Year by watching the sunrise on January 1 from Makapu‘u Point Lighthouse, located just 15 miles from Waikiki. The First Day Hike, which begins at Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline, promises breathtaking views of O’ahu’s windward coast and a sense of community. Put your best foot forward as you usher in a year of prosperity and be sure to keep an eye out for humpback whales. The ocean giants migrate to the waters from November to May.

Experience Mochi-pounding

Pounding mochi (Japanese rice cake) is a January 1 tradition that has been done for generations in Hawai’i. Families gather at dawn to cook the sweet glutinous rice then pound the dough in an usu (large mortar) with kine (long wooden mallets). The mochi is formed into discs, stacked on top of each other, and placed in the home to bring good fortune in the coming year. The sticky rice cakes have been a symbol of long life and well-being during the Japanese New Year season for centuries. See mochi-pounding in action at the annual New Year’s ‘Ohana Festival at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai’i. New Year’s ‘Ohana Festival 2021 has yet to be announced. Visit news and events listings for cancellations and updates.

Watch Fireworks

Start the New Year off with a bang. Although many cultures around the world set off firecrackers and fireworks on New Year’s Eve, fireworks are believed to scare away evil spirits and bring good luck according to traditional Chinese culture. Hawai’i’s Chinese New Year celebrations are particularly partial to the cacophony of crackles, pops, and bangs of the sparkling night lights. The New Year custom is typically enjoyed before New Year’s Eve dinner, at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Day, on New Year’s Day morning, and during the Lantern Festival, which marks the end of the celebration of Chinese New Year. O’ahu’s main fireworks event at Waikiki Beach has been cancelled for this New Year’s Eve.

Tuck into a Bowl of Ozoni Soup

The hearty miso-based soup is traditionally enjoyed early in the morning on New Year’s Day. The Japanese soup usually includes mochi and is most commonly found in the Kanto style (with a kelp and bonito dashi base, chicken, fish cakes, dried shiitake, carrot, leafy vegetables, and garnished with yuzu peel) or the Kansai style (with white miso soup, round shaped mochi, taro root, daikon, carrot, and garnished with bonito flakes). Yoshitsune and Sekiya’s in Honolulu are both known to serve the dish.

Hungry for more? Enjoy a bowl of Jook (Cantonese for rice porridge) when the clock strikes midnight on the first of January. The porridge is typically flavored with chicken, duck egg, and pickled vegetables and is a Chinese New Year tradition that is popular in Hawai’i. Pancit is a Filipino noodle dish that is said to grant a long life if eaten on New Year’s Day. Find it at Sorabol in Ala Moana.

Manifest prosperity in 2021 by squeezing in one of these New Year traditions. There’s only one way to experience the New Year in Honolulu, and that’s in person. Book your trip to Honolulu with Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel. It’s located right across the street from the beach and it’s central to everything in Waikiki. Check out exclusive offers only available on our website. We hope to see you soon!

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