Travelers visiting during this time could see a mixture of Chinese and Western festivals, which would showcase the unique culture in Hong Kong.
The Mid-Autumn Festival
Hong Kong follows the lunar calendar with its Chinese festivals. The Mid-Autumn Festival falls on August 15th of the lunar calendar. Families will gather together and celebrate by eating “moon cakes” and children will carry lanterns around for play. In the old days, the lanterns are usually made with paper and wooden sticks in the image of rabbits and star fruit. As time progresses, you can see Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters in battery operated lanterns. The “moon cakes” made of lard and duck eggs have branched off into Tiramisu flavored ones. A large scale lantern festival will be held in Victoria Park, where giant lanterns are erected to house games and gifts.
Since the handover, the territory has observed the National Day on October 1st. The flag raising ceremony will be held at the Golden Bauhinia Square outside the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in the morning. There will be a spectacular fireworks display in the evening. Hotels usually have packages for an overnight stay to view the fireworks.
Halloween is widely celebrated in the territory, an excuse to get all dressed up and party in Lan Kwai Fong, a hot spot for clubbing, to see and be seen. Ocean Park and Hong Kong Disneyland has also joined in to create Halloween themed attractions during the week leading up to All Saints Eve. To make it even creepier, restaurants would serve special “bloody” drinks and broken finger dishes.
The skyscrapers in Hong Kong are perfect backdrops for Christmas lights. Taking photos in front of these festive lights have become a habit for the locals. There are usually photo competitions where budding photographers and fanatics could submit their works. To attract business, shopping malls have the true spirit of Christmas by decking the halls with joy and holly. You can find a lot of people jostling a space to take photos in front of the giant Christmas trees. Midnight masses are observed in the cathedrals and churches around the territory.
Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year follows the lunar calendar and it usually falls on February on the western calendar. There are many traditions to bring in good luck, prosperity and health in the coming year. One of the activities after a big meal with the family is buying flowers in the makeshift markets set up in Victoria Park and the Mongkok Flower market. Big blossoms are seen to bring good luck and different flowers represent different wishes, to prosper, to bring good health and even a good mate. Many stores and restaurants will be closed on the first three days of the Chinese New Year, although there are some that will stay open to bring in extra business.
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Bonnie Wong is a full time writer, bilingual translator and founder of Pastel b. cards. She hopes to share the uniqueness of Hong Kong with everyone through her writing. Learn more about me [+]