NU`UANU (December 31) – About 6,000 revelers (and lots of their pets) will spend New Year’s Eve observing a well-loved Japanese tradition. A Nu`uanu Shinto shrine holds one of the largest celebrations of its kind on the island.
At nightfall on December 31st, people line up outside the Daijingu Temple of Hawaii to receive a blessing from a Shinto priest, followed by the purchase of a good luck amulet to help them over the next 12 months, and a fortune written on paper. If you don’t like the fortune, you can simply tie it to a nearby stand and buy another fortune.
There are charms of all sorts, including ones to help you find love, get pregnant, or stay safe in the water. Reverend Akihiro Okada says, “In Hawaii it has over 114 years of history. You can sweep out evil spirits and bring in happiness at New Year’s.”
There is a blessing on the 31st at 10 p.m. and 11 p.m., but the bulk of the traffic arrives between midnight and 3:30 a.m.
If you cannot make the public event, you can also make appointments for individual New Year blessings for you and/or your family. Call Reverend Okada at 595-3102 to set up appointments. The temple is open until 4 pm on New Year’s Day and throughout the month of January.
The public event and blessing are free but donations are appreciated. This is the temple’s largest fundraiser of the year.
Park at the shrine’s parking lot or on the street; additional parking available at Boy Scouts parking lot across the shrine.
WHO: Daijingu Temple of Hawaii, a Shinto shrine
WHAT: New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day Hatsumoude blessings
WHEN: From midnight on Dec 31 until 4 pm on Jan 1
WHERE: 61 Puiwa Road, Honolulu, HI 96817 – near corner of Nu`uanu Avenue and Puiwa Road – just above Queen Emma Summer Palace and near the Nu`uanu Valley Park.
CONTACT: Reverend Akihiro Okada 595-3102 or cell 386-1642
VISUALS: Great shots of priest blessing people, very long lines near midnight, great nat sound of people ringing the temple bell, good shots of people buying charms and fortunes, probably pets in line.
INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITIES: Rev. Okada is at the temple all day on 12/31 setting up for the service, so you can interview him in the day before he gets too busy with the blessings. The lines form at 10 pm and the blessings start at midnight 1/1. He can perform a blessing for your camera if you don’t want to wait till midnight. Please set it up a day before, if you can, to ensure that he will be there when you want him.
If you call on 1/1 he will likely not answer because he’ll be performing the blessings and overseeing the event.