Chinese New Year Celebrations
Chinese New Year celebrations all over the world are known for their flamboyancy and extravagance and those in Hong Kong are regarded as the best of them all. Hordes of locals dressed in traditional costumes, similar to those that have been used for two thousand years, parade through the streets encouraging everyone to become involved in the festivities. Spectacular fireworks displays over the harbour, flower markets set up especially for the occasion and the ever popular annual horseracing, combine to make Hong Kong the most exciting place on the planet while the locals are celebrating their New Year.
Tuen Ng (Dragon Boat Festival)
One of the oldest Cantonese festivals, Tuen Ng began over two thousand years ago. It takes place on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month and is Hong Kong’s most exciting festivals. Brightly painted boats elaborately decorated with carved dragon heads and tails race throughout the territory. The festival itself commemorates the death of a national Chinese hero, Qu Yuan, who drowned himself in the Mi Lo as a protest against the government so many traditional activities are carried out in his honour. But, as well as the formalities, however the whole event ends with one massive party that even the seasoned revellers among you will never forget.
The good news is that Hong Kong is just as alive after dark as it is during the day. Western style bars and discos are easy to come by and while some are frequented by a mainly western clientele, others attract an interesting mix of locals and visitors and are usually much more enjoyable. Your main options for venues in which to use up any energy left over after you day include anything from American bars to high tech Japanese karaoke clubs to very late night Chinese discotheques. Live music is also very popular in Hong Kong so you should keep an eye out for up to date even listings which will keep you informed about performances, venues and the like. And, for the best regions in which to party, head to Lan Kwai Fong, Wan Chai or Tsim Tsa Tsiu in Kowloon.
Tin Hau Fisherman’s Festival
The Tin Hau festival honours the goddes of the same name, the deity most revered by Hong Kong’s boat people. During the day there is a colourful parade and traditional activities including wonderful lunches of the best Chinese food you are ever likely to taste. The day culminates with a gathering at the Tai Miu Temple where thousands of people present offerings of fruit and dumplings. Following this you will get to see some world-renowned lion dancers as well as traditional fortunetellers and Chinese opera performers. The festival takes place on a different date every year, it’s April 27th in 2001, and if you are going to be anywhere near Hong Kong around that time, you should try to make it to one of the world’s oldest festivals.
Another of Hong Kong’s major festivals, this is also known as the Moon Cake festival. The event commemorates a fourteenth century uprising against the Mongols when Chinese rebels wrote messages to revolt on pieces of paper and embedded them in cakes which they smuggled to compatriots. During the celebrations which take place in October, people eat special sweet cakes which are known as ‘Moon Cakes’. Another feature of the festival is the fact that public parks such as Victoria Park are ablaze with thousands of lanterns in various colours, shapes and sizes and it’s when you go to watch the spectacular light displays that you get to devour your moon cakes while watching the moon rise.