Chinese New Year (CNY) is definitely the biggest festival / celebration in the Chinese History. Although a lot of the Chinese culture has been lost in the British-colonized Hong Kong, CNY is still important and may be the very few festivals the youngsters are willing to get back home to celebrate with their families. CNY is the new year day on the traditional Chinese lunar calendar, which is a different day each year in the modern calendar. It usually falls around February. The easiest way to know when it is is to Google it.
Where to go? What to do?
1. “Flower Market”
The biggest park, Victoria Park in Causeway Bay / Tin Hau will turn into a giant “Flower Market” before CNY and it is a must-visit even for the locals. At the “Flower Market” not only flowers are sold, but all kinds of toys, crafts, snacks, and such. The most popular are stuffed animals and blow-up toys. You have your airbed at home? At the flower market there are air-sofas, air-swords, air-everything! A lot of the booths are rented by students not aiming at earning money but earning fun. They learn how to build up their double-decked booths by tiding bamboo sticks together. Many design their own goods and produce them in China solely for sale at the Flower Market. They are mostly sold at cost that even the kids sell off all their products there is rarely a revenue. The Flower Market is so very crowded that if you go in two you have to hold your hands tight and probably will be just pushed by the crowd in the aisle between the booths “window” shopping. Kids go on daddy’s shoulders and it is almost a must to buy and carry a big blow-up toy or a balloon, both for fun and for identification. Note that the Flower Market ends on CNY eve, so arrive Hong Kong ahead of time. It is easier to walk in the day time, but still VERY crowded.
2. CNY Parade
Sponsored by Cathay Pacific Airways, the parade is led by pretty flight attendants and handsome pilots, followed by traditional and international performances, marching bands, cheerleaders, dance troupes, characters, and all kinds of decorated floats, along the main streets in Tsim Sha Tsui, on CNY day.
3. CNY Fireworks
Private fireworks are banned in Hong Kong. There are two official fireworks and the CNY firework is the tradition. The fireworks are shot from boats in the Victoria Harbour continuously for almost half an hour. There are options to view it from a boat, on the street, on the rooftop, or from a TV.
4. Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees
A very traditional way of making new year wishes in the New Territories is to throw it up on the famous Lam Tsuen Wishing Tree. The tree was once accidently burnt down but is now up taking more wishes.
Dress & Props
Red means lucky! Dress red from top to toe, and don’t forget your new underwear! Never dress black and white on the week of CNY, especially when you are visiting someone’s house. It’s considered dress for funerals and mentioning about death is a taboo in CNY. Remember to bring a box of chocolate or cookies, wrapped, when you visit. The married will have to give out “Red Packets”, brand new money notes in special red envelopes to the singles and younger ones. If you have kids, you are lucky! They could earn you back some Red Packets with cash! All parents in Hong Kong say “Mommy will keep the money for you till you grow up.” The most traditional lie ever!
Photos By beggs, marvin L, Global Jet, under creative common