Goat-Year-2015-Chinese-New-Year

CNY in Hong Kong

February 28, 2015 / by / 0 Comment

Chinese New Year (CNY) holidays were last week. Did you stuff your face with all the New Year snacks and inevitably gain a couple of pounds? Or did you play all-night mahjong with your relatives and every time someone “pong!”-ed, your heart would jump a little, alongside wall the red packet money you received making crispy noises in your pocket? Or… did you have to bite your tongue everytime an elder relative would ask, “No boyfriend yet, huh?”

Well, none of the above applies to me, because I didn’t go home this New Year’s. Awww… It’s alright, I bullied a couple of friends to bring all the snacks back for me. But in case you don’t already know, Hong Kong hosts some of the best CNY celebrations in the world. It’s tradition!

Among the exciting highlights include:

1. Flower Market

Photo credits to: hk-magazine

These special flower markets pop up once a year about half a month before CNY begins up until New Year’s Day. Flower markets exhibit a proud array of lucky plants right in bloom as well as pretty New Year decorations usually matching with the symbol animal for that year. It’s the Year of the Goat this year and I’m sure if you visited the biggest flower market in Victoria Park in Causeway Bay, you would have seen quite a number of dainty little paper sheep models prancing among the flower booths.

2. Night Parade

 

Photo credits to: Andy Wong of Ottawa citizen

Photo credits to: SCMP Pictures

The night parade which takes place every CNY at Nathan Road and Canton Road in Tsim Sha Tsui features endless creativity in colorful floats, lion dances, acrobatic performances, and festive music playing practically all night long! Make sure to get there early because the crowd will definitely not go easy on latecomers.

3. Fireworks Display

Photo credits to: Google images

Noisy celebrations are believed to scare away evil spirits and this has encouraged Hong Kong people to take it one step further. Though fireworks display in Hong Kong does not only take place during CNY, but on several other occasions as well, the CNY fireworks is undeniably a spectacular show. A fleet of boats makes its way right into the middle of Victoria Harbour and shoots up a breathtaking performance of fireworks into the night sky, which continues for almost half an hour.

I’d advise you to gather some friends, bring a picnic mat and settle down very very early if you want a good seat to watch the fireworks. Some people prefer to watch fireworks from afar, which is equally as breathtaking and without the noise, but I once had the great fortune to be able to stand right at the railings of the Avenue of Stars and the fireworks literally exploded all my worries away. Don’t leave Hong Kong without watching the New Year’s fireworks display at least once.

4. Lion and Dragon Dances

Photo credits to: Expat Living in HK

CNY isn’t CNY without lion and dragon dances. They are believed to drive away bad omens and bring good luck and fortune. Hence, restaurants, hotels, offices, shopping malls and even residential homes hire lion and dragon dance crews to perform at the entrance of their businesses or homes in hope of an auspicious year. The dances usually start from New Year’s Day onwards for another fifteen days, sometimes even more, so make sure to keep an eye out for those lion heads, but you might just hear their drums from a mile away.

5. Praying For a Good Year

 

Photo credits to: Canadian special events (left) & Anthony Kwan/Getty Images (right)

During the festive season, everyone wishes for a good year. Hence, there are many wishing trees and people praying for good fortune at temples. Among the countless temples in Hong Kong, Wong Tai Sin is one of the busiest, with its colorful decorations, beautiful gardens and pavilions. Besides that, the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastry in Sha Tin is also a must visit for those praying for a good goat year.

Of course, you don’t have to visit all the above highlights to say you’ve had a good CNY. It’s nearly spring and the weather is just nice for picnics, cycling trips, hikes, and just lazing about under the bright sun and cool breezes. Disneyland, Ocean Park, and just about any place in Hong Kong has some sort of New Year celebration going on so take your pick! We have another 5 days left of the New Years, so let’s wish everyone a Prosperous Goat Year and spend that red packet money wisely!




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