Asia’s world city set to welcome the Year of the Pig
Regarded as one of Hong Kong’s largest and most colourful festivals, visitors and locals alike will be caught up in the energy and atmosphere of Hong Kong’s Chinese New Year (CNY) celebrations.
Squeeze into temples to pray for good fortune, browse festive markets selling auspicious foods and blooms, take in the red lanterns that adorn the city or sit back and enjoy one of Hong Kong’s most anticipated annual events, the International Chinese New Year Night Parade.
Join the CNY festivities with highlights including:
Discover local flower markets: Join locals for a sensory overload as they shop for seasonal flowers at one of the colourful flower markets. Plants and blooms symbolise different well wishes during the CNY period, including: cherry blossoms which are believed to improve personal, particularly romantic, relationships; and water bamboo plants which are said to bring wealth. Spend a few hours browsing the large range of creative products and delicacies that reflect the unique Hong Kong cultures.
What: Flower markets
Where: Fa Hui Park, Mong Kok and Victoria Park, Causeway Bay
When: Fa Hui Park market is open from 7am on 4 February to 7am on 5 February and Victoria Park market is open from 8am on 4 February to 8am on 5 February
Start the new year in the Great Outdoors: In Chinese culture physical uphill climbing signifies progress in life, so hiking is a popular activity around CNY. For some great outdoors action head to Lantau Island via the cable car from Tung Chung, then wander around the world’s tallest outdoor sitting Buddha statue, before stopping at Ngong Ping Village to visit the “Good Luck Garden”. End the day by sampling some traditional Chinese vegetarian dishes at the Po Lin Monastery.
Where: Lantau Island – Ngong Ping Village, Po Lin Monastery, Big Buddha
When: The cable car operates on weekdays from 10am to 6pm and weekends and public holidays from 9am to 6:30pm
Join the biggest CNY soiree in town: Head to Tsim Sha Tsui early on 5 February to secure a spot to watch the Cathay Pacific International Chinese New Year Night Parade, a signature event dating back to 1996. Starting from 6pm roving performers will emerge along the parade route, before dazzling floats, ebullient dancers, acrobats and other performers from around the world follow and fill the area with colour and excitement. Paid spectator seats located at the starting point, next to the iconic Hong Kong Cultural Centre, are also available on a first-come, first-served basis.
What: Cathay Pacific International Chinese New Year Night Parade
Where: Tsim Sha Tsui, running through Canton Road, Haiphong Road and Nathan Road
When: 5 February from 8pm to 9:45pm
Make a wish: Venture to the New Territories to experience the local Hong Kong Well-Wishing Festival in Lam Tsuen, Tai Po, which takes place from 5 to 19 February. Visitors can try their hand at placard throwing by purchasing a placard tied to an orange. They then write their wishes for the new year on it, before throwing it at the imitation wishing tree. The higher the placard hangs, the greater chance that the wishes will be granted. The floats from the International Chinese New Year Night Parade will also be on display until 19 February.
What: Hong Kong Well-wishing Festival 2019
Where: Lam Tsuen Wishing Square, Lam Tsuen, Tai Po
When: 5 to 19 February from 8:45am to 6:30pm
Don’t forget to look up: Fireworks, or literally “smoke flower” in Cantonese, is an integral part of festive celebrations in Hong Kong. For many years, an extravagant fireworks display is staged above the iconic Victoria Harbour on the second day of Chinese New Year. The 30-minute spectacle can be best viewed for free along the harbourfront in Tsim Sha Tsui, the Golden Bauhinia Square in Wan Chai, or ifc in Central; or for dinner and a show, book one of the restaurants overlooking the harbour.
What: Lunar New Year Fireworks Display
Where: Victoria Harbour
When: 6 February from 8pm to 8:30pm
Spin the windmill for good fortune: Paying respect to the deities is a customary practice among the locals, especially the older generation. For a glimpse into this tradition, visitors can visit Che Kung Temple in Tai Wai, which attracts crowds of avid worshippers around CNY every year. Try “Kau Chim”, or fortune stick drawing, to see what fortune awaits in the Year of the Pig. Remember to spin the temple’s famous copper windmill clockwise to summon good luck.
What: Che Kung Temple
Where: Tai Wai
When: 7 February from 8am to 6pm
Put the new year good fortune to the test: The Chinese New Year Race Day at the Sha Tin Racecourse will be the first race for the Year of the Pig calendar and provides the perfect opportunity for visitors to experience Hong Kong’s iconic horseracing culture and put their new year good fortune to the test. Join locals for a day of entertainment, hospitality and lots of horse racing!
What: Chinese New Year Race Day
Where: Sha Tin Racecourse
When: 7 February from 11am to 6pm
For more information on CNY visit www.discoverhongkong.com/au/search.jsp?keyword=Chinese New Year