HONOLULU (KHON2) — Thousands are expected to come out to Chinatown this weekend to celebrate the Lunar New Year, this will be the first time the event takes place since January 2020, and there is lots of pent-up excitement from the community for this large celebration to return. 

After a sudden cancellation last year due to the omicron variant surge, Chinatown808 President Leonard Kam said Chinatown’s New Year celebration will return to celebrate the year of the rabbit. 

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Kam said, “It’s on we are a go, we’re praying for the best and I think everyone is excited to be back again.”

Organizers are expecting upwards of 10-to-20 thousand people in Chinatown throughout the weekend.

On Friday, lion dances sponsored by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii will be visiting businesses in Chinatown.  

Chinatown will be closed to car traffic on Friday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. The closures will be from Bethel to River Streets and Nimitz HWY to Beretania Street. 

While Beretania Street will close for most of Saturday from Maunakea to Aala Streets. 

Honolulu Police said additional officers will be assigned to the Chinatown area, and they urge drivers to exercise caution and patience during the closures. 

The Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii President Jonathan Cook said keeping everyone safe during the event is their main priority. 

“I can tell you the cultural plaza always has security and they will be stepping up for this event,” Cook said. “Plus we do have police on hand as well, we want to make sure this is family-friendly and a very safe event for everyone.”

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The year of the rabbit is a symbol of longevity, peace and prosperity for Chinese culture, and 2023 is seen as a year of hope.