Saturday, February 12, 2011

Aloha Braddah! Hung Kei Fat Choy! Celebrating the Chinese New Year in Hawaii

Aloha Braddah! Hung Kei Fat Choy! I heard this today while at the Chinese New Year festival in downtown Hilo, classic Hawaiian pidgin greeting with a traditional Chinese prosperous new year wish :) 

While watching the Keiki contest I noted again and again the incredible mix of races in Hawaii, especially in the keiki. As each child came on stage the announcer would read out the racial background (can you imagine that happening anywhere else?), for example... "this is little Kylia, she is 4 years old and she is Hawaiian, Chinese, Puerto Rican, Scottish, German and Chocataw Indian." Next child, "This is Brendan, he is 5 and is Portuguese, Korean, Irish and Tahitian", now the names have been changed but most often it was 4 or more nationalities and each child was cuter than the last. So sweet and well behaved. As with all children there where plenty of antics but no real misbehaving and the audience seemed to really enjoy the character of each child.

The group that struck my heart the most was the children of old neighbor of mine, she and her husband had adopted two little girls from China about 5-6 years ago, and are raising them to continue speaking their native tongue, as well as Hawaiian, English, Spanish and American sign language. And I had a hard time teaching my kids to be understandable in one language! A few years ago they had added a little boy from China to their family group and it was amazing to see how he had grown and how much more confident he is in only one year.

This face painter had set up a booth at the festival and she was the best advertisement for her art there could be, had a line 5-6 deep and was turning out the neatest face paint on the kids. Not your traditional unicorns and rainbows at this face paint booth!

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