HONOLULU - Firecrackers exploded and lions danced throughout Chinatown Friday in preparation of the Chinese New Year next week.

"Every year, the lions groups go out and bless all the businesses in Chinatown and this is a way of chasing the evil and bringing all the god luck to the various businesses," Leonard Kam, event organizer said. 

The lions visited each business. Not only dancing outside but also going inside the businesses as well.

Spectators got involved because it's good luck for you to feed the lion too.

An estimated 5,000 to 10,000 people enjoyed the lions tonight.

Merchants say it's far less than usual. The annual parade, put on by the Chinatown Merchants Association brings in the crowds with its food and booths but it was canceled at the last moment because there wasn't enough funding. 

Tonight's event is a cultural one, sponsored by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce.

If you want to celebrate, the chamber will also be holding New Years celebrations Saturday in Chinatown from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m.