New Year’s in Hawaii means fireworks – it is one of a handful of states where it is still legal to set them off, although some of the more dangerous ones have been outlawed in the last few years after a series of fatal and near fatal accidents finally motivated law makers to take on the unpopular stance and do some regulation. The reluctance to take a hard line against dangerous fireworks is rooted, or so the legislators claim, in respect for the cultural traditions – mostly Asian – that use fireworks to send away the evil spirits. There’s also a pretty substantial lobbying effort on the part of the sellers of the fireworks who make a mint every New Year’s, Chinese New Year, and Fourth of July.
Another big New Year’s tradition in Hawaii is mochi pounding. This one is Japanese, where the fireworks tradition is mostly Chinese. Mochi is sweet rice, and pounding the mochi into a paste and making flat cakes and tradtional dishes for consumption at midnight on New Year’s Eve is thought to bring good luck and health for the coming year. The mochi pounding process is also part of the celebration – here’s a video:
It also looks like Madam Pele, who gave the folks of Pahoa a break for Christmas, may have plans of her own for some New Year’s fireworks. Here’s the latest report from West Hawaii Today about the flow:
By Chelsea Jensen
West Hawaii Today
After a four-day hiatus, the leading edge of the June 27 lava flow resumed its trek toward a major Pahoa intersection, Hawaii County Civil Defense reported Saturday.
The flow front resumed its advance Friday afternoon and had moved about 15 yards — or about 45 feet — downslope by Saturday morning, Civil Defense said, noting the flow front was about 35 yards wide. The flow had been stalled since Monday afternoon about 700 yards above the Pahoa Marketplace and about 0.6 mile upslope of the Pahoa Village Road-Highway 130 intersection.
Breakouts above the leading edge along the flow’s surface and margins continued Saturday, Civil Defense said. The breakouts extended mauka about 2.5 miles upslope of the flow front.
The closest breakout, located on the south side of the flow pad, was about 75 to 100 yards behind the stalled flow front as of Friday and appeared to be taking the path of steepest descent toward the Pahoa Marketplace. No update on that breakout was provided by Civil Defense or the U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.
“The surface breakouts and activity along both margins continues upslope of the front, however, current activity does not pose an immediate threat to area communities,” Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira said in the agency’s morning eruption update. “Civil Defense and Hawaiian Volcano Observatory personnel are maintaining close observations of the flow. Residents and businesses down slope will be kept informed of any changes in flow activity, advancement and status.”
Smoke and combined vog conditions were reported as moderate to heavy Saturday morning with a light variable wind causing the smoke to settle in areas stretching from Puna to Hilo. Smoke and vog conditions may increase in some areas and individuals who may be sensitive or have respiratory problems are advised to take necessary precautions and to remain indoors.