Lion dance, firecrackers signal start of the Year of the Rabbit

Posted on Jan 23 2023

Hyatt Regency Saipan general manager Guillaume Delemarle, in black, with his son, and assistant food and beverage director Seiji Shindo, pose for a photo with the two lions after the traditional lion dance at the Hyatt Regency Saipan lobby yesterday morning. (Leigh Gases)

To ward off evil spirits and welcome good luck as the CNMI hops into the Year of the Rabbit, the Chinese Association of Saipan held a lively lion dance and popped firecrackers with a crowd of about 50 staff and guests at the lobby of the Hyatt Regency Saipan yesterday morning during the first day of the Lunar New Year.

Moving to the beat of the drums playing in the background, the red and gold lion wove and bobbed through the lobby into the Kili Cafe and Terrace outside seating and back. After, lines of firecrackers were exploded in the lobby, with the lion dancers still moving to the beat of the drums.

A lettuce offering hung atop the lobby entrance, which the two lions ate and spat out to spread wealth, prosperity, and good luck, was also performed, according to the lion dance Chinese tradition. At the same time, hóngbāo or red envelopes filled with money were given to children and others in attendance.

Hyatt Regency Saipan general manager Guillaume Delemarle said he has high hopes hopping into the Year of the Rabbit. “What we foresee for this year is a mind of business. …The Year of the Rabbit will be a reactivation of the hotel and reactivation of activities in the community, because we’re still very much affected by COVID, unfortunately, but we see the Year of the Rabbit as the end of that cycle. So, we have very high hopes for this year.”

Lion dancers set up in front of the JP Center to perform and bless the business location. (LADYVIR CANAPE)


Lion dancers prepare to enter the first floor of the JP Center to perform and bless the business location. (LADYVIR CANAPE)


Lion dancers enter the Century Insurance Corp. office at the JP Center in Garapan. (LADYVIR CANAPE)


Lion dancers exit the Century Insurance Corp. office at the JP Center in Garapan. (LADYVIR CANAPE)

He hopes that Chinese tourists will make their way back to Saipan as soon as possible. “Everybody is really challenged with traveling, but we look forward to welcoming the Chinese community to its full capacity, and even more, because we love people from China, we love their culture, we love their food. And this will be a big step forward again for the reactivation of our hotel and community. We really look forward to that.”

Hyatt Regency marketing and communications manager Bea O’Malley said it was her first time to witness the lion dance at the hotel. She said that with Hyatt celebrating the lunar new year every year at the hotel, “it’s part of Hyatt’s purpose of care for the community. Hyatt is very inclusive; we welcome every culture and we celebrate every culture.”

After the festivities, Rose Chan from the Chinese Association of Saipan said that “we try to bring happiness for the new year because it is the symbol of Chinese culture. So every year, we just try to do the lion dance all over Saipan to chase evil away and bring happiness and good luck to everybody.”

A spectator of the show, Jiaxin Liang who was there for brunch with her family, said that she enjoyed the show. She said the dance and firecrackers are part of the Chinese culture “to make everybody happy and to have a fun start to the new year.”

This year, besides Hyatt, the Chinese Association of Saipan brought their lion dance to the Chinese Association of Saipan, TSL Plaza, JP Center, Century Hotel, Saipan Computer Services, Transamerica, UIC, Shirley’s Coffee Shop in Susupe, CTSI, Aqua Resort Club, Majesty Restaurant, Canton Restaurant, Pho Tam Vietnamese Cuisine, Crowne Plaza Resort Saipan, iShop, Spicy Thai Noodle Restaurant, Dollar Days, DFS T-Galleria, The ARC, and Pacific Islands Club.

Leigh Gases
Leigh Gases is the youngest reporter of Saipan Tribune and primarily covers community related news, but she also handles the utilities, education, municipal, and veterans beats. Contact Leigh at
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