The Chinese New Year Festival is the biggest holiday in China; Hong Kong residents celebrate it with a delicious twist. The people of Hong Kong depart slightly from tradition to mark the event with a unique fusion of modern fun and ancient customs. For three whole days, Hong Kong witnesses glittering nightly parades, giant fireworks, horse racing and a multitude of other events that make the Chinese New Year the perfect time to visit Hong Kong.
1. Watch The Big International Chinese New Year’s Parade
Enormous, colorful and glittery paper dragons take to the streets. Music throbs in the air as the parade moves from the Avenue of Stars to Nathan Road, Salisbury Road, Canton Road, and Haiphong Road. A number of performing groups and bands put on shows, and floats from different countries join the parade. The streets are decorated with flowers of every description and people carry colorful lanterns with lit candles inside. The parade is fronted by Chinese monks who chant while beating the gong on brass drums. Chinese New Year Hong Kong is a vibrant, colorful, noisy and adrenalin-jerking event.
2. Enjoy The Flower Markets
The Chinese New Year celebrations in Mainland China don’t include horse racing and the luxurious shopping. They also don’t include flowers. In Hong Kong and Macau, people traditionally decorate their homes with flowers, and even gift each other colorful and unique bouquets. The Chinese New Year’s Eve Flower Market sees a rush of people in the last week of the year. Cash-rich people opt for rare orchids and other flowers, while regular people are happy with jasmine, roses and lilies. The whole of Hong Kong smells like a hothouse and looks simply amazing with all the flowers everywhere. Visit the Flower Markets at the Victoria Park in Causeway Bay and Fa Hui Park in Mong Kok. Enjoying the flower market is one of the best things to do in Hong Kong During Chinese New Year.
3. Don’t Miss The Fireworks At Victoria Harbor!
The day after the parade, make your way to Victoria Harbor to watch the impressive fireworks display. Victoria Harbor blazes with fireworks, and the surrounding buildings literally dance with the reflected lights. Giant fireworks explode with a whiz and bang, turning the night skies ablaze with a superb display of choreographed pyrotechnics. The fireworks coincide with the daily record-setting Symphony of Lights with its colorful building lights and laser light show. Together, the two shows make Hong Kong light up in unbelievable colors.
4. Shop Till You Drop
Thousands of people arrive from Mainland China to shop for imported products, electronics and clothes during the festival, which they carry duty-free through customs. Malls stay open for extended hours throughout the week of the festivities. Hong Kong’s biggest mall, Harbour City, is located along the parade route. iSquare Mall is a tall skyscraper full of goodies that’s also on the parade route. The idea is that people are encouraged to shop while checking out the parade from various vantage points. Be sure to browse for bargains at the Temple Street Market pedestrian street.
5. Check Out The Horse Races On The Third Day!
Get to the Sha Tin Racecourse on the third day of the holidays along with thousands of fans and gamblers. The Jockey Club features a program of traditional festivities at the grand opening show. Enjoy the lion dance, multiple cultural performances and all sorts of entertainment. Professional jockeys will parade and the crowd will go mad cheering them. The race begins at 11 A.M. and goes on till 6 P.M.
6. Eat Lots of Good Food!
Chinese New Year is all about the greatest food; enjoy your share of savory and sweet puddings, wonderful lunch and dinner buffets and special dim sum breakfasts at any of the wonderful street eateries in Hong Kong. Sink your teeth into turnip cakes, deep-fried sesame balls, dried oysters and lettuce. Learn more about Chinese culture from the special foods and their significance for the New Year.
7. Attend the Night Parade
The annual Chinese New Year Night Parade will be held in Tsim Sha Tsui on Canton Road, Salisbury Road and Nathan Road on the first evening of Chinese New Year. Observe the fabulously-decorated floats, and enjoy lion and dragon dances and smell the abundance of flowers. The event begins at 8 pm so get to the parade route well in advance.
8. Join The Che Kung Festival
Four Che Kung Festivals are held each year; one of them falls on the second day of the first lunar month. People flock to the Che Kung Temple in Shatin in the New Territories to beat drums and ceremoniously turn the fan-bladed wheel of fortune for good luck. Be sure to buy yourself a wheel of fortune at the temple.
9. Make A Wish For The New Year
Travel further north from the New Territories to Sha Tin to Tai Po and visit the Lam Tsuen Wishing Square. Here you’ll find the famous Wishing Well, where it is the custom to throw in coins and flowers and make wishes for the New Year, for life and happiness and prosperity. Look down into the well and you’ll see offerings of coins, tiny pieces of jewelry and other objects that hold meaning to the people who’ve made their wishes here. Make your wish for a wonderful new year at the Chinese New Year Hong Kong 2018 wishing well.
10. Receive Lai See (Red Packets Of Money) In Good Faith
The number ‘8’ represents prosperity in the Chinese culture. Greet people on the New Year saying ‘Kung Hey Fat Choy’, which is a wish for prosperity for the New Year. You never know which generous soul might offer you a red packet loaded with money! These red packets, or Lai See as they’re called, are given by family elders to younger members. You can offer lai see as well as receive it in the traditional Chinese custom. If you receive it from an elder, just pray there’s a lot of money in it!
Recently, Forbes listed the Hong Kong’s Chinese New Year celebration as one of the world’s 10 best festival extravaganzas. The list includes Germany’s Oktoberfest and Brazil’s Carnival as well. Even Lonely Planet lists the Hong Kong Chinese New Year as one of the world’s top events. The festival is a visual and olfactory extravaganza of the kind that’s seldom seen anywhere. In fact, Hong Kong’s Chinese New Year celebrations are even better than in Mainland China!