Today marks the start of Chinese New Year, and celebrations break out all over the world, but nowhere can compare to the dazzling festivities that take place in Hong Kong – making it the place to be each new year.
This year marks the Year of the Dog. To the Chinese, the dog is the symbol of loyalty and honesty and people born in the Year of the Dog are believed to possess the best traits of human nature.
This year, Hong Kong will celebrate the beginning of a new calendar with 15 days of celebrations, welcoming locals and international visitors to join the party.
Expect brilliant fireworks, massive feasts, carnivals and colourful festivities aplenty.
From Hong Kong Island to Kowloon, there is no shortage of entertainment. The parade along the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui is always a highlight. Flamboyant floats bowl down streets lit up like Christmas, while skilled performers attempt baffling feats, dancers twist and turn to traditional and modern music, and spectators stare in awe at the impressive pageantry.
The celebrations start with a bang courtesy of spectacular pyrotechnics over Victoria Harbour, creating a kaleidoscope of colour lighting up the sky.
Race-goers will appreciate Chinese New Year Raceday at Sha Tin Racecourse, where thousands of punters flock to the course to witness the racing along with live entertainment and other festivities.
Then there’s the Great European Carnival at the Central Harbourfront Event Space – a giant outdoor amusement park where you can ride on a giant swing, try your luck at games of skill and chance, or take in a circus performance.
Each year, the Che Kung Temple features colourful spinning ‘wheels of fortune’ fluttering in the breeze, along with decorations to celebrate the birthday of renowned military commander turned deity, Che Kung.
And the Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees, in Tai Po’s Lam Tsuen Village in Tai Po, are a popular destination for local and foreigners who await their turn to tie joss sticks to tree branches in hope that their wishes will be granted.
Hong Kong’s Flower Markets burst with colour, traditional decorations and delicious treats, as well as the exotic blooms for which the market is famous. Temporary flower markets also open around Victoria Park and Mongkok, as visitors search for vibrant and auspicious buds for the New Year.
Poon Choi (one-pot casserole) is a traditional Chinese New Year dish made by layering ingredients, such as meat, poultry, seafood and vegetables in a giant pot. It’s a hallmark of village dining culture especially at this time of year, and is found in restaurants all over town.
Then there’s the traditional Cantonese dishes, such as ptongyuen dumplings, dried oysters, and glutinous rice cake or pudding. Each dish has a special meaning that symbolise sentiments such as reunion, good fortune and the coming together of family and friends.
Unless you’re already on your way to HK, you may have missed out this year’s celebrations, but if you ever want to celebrate Chinese New Year the right way – then Hong Kong is the perfect place to see it in spectacular style and colour.
Read more about Hong Kong at the Hong Kong Tourism Bureau
Do you ever seek out the celebrations at Chinese New Year? Where do you go? Would you like to see in the new year in Hong Kong? Have you been to Hong Kong? How was your experience?