Hong Kong sets a vibrant example for celebrations in the Year of the Dog by hosting an international night parade, flower markets and enormous outdoor carnivals to mark this momentous changing of the guard.
Local and international performers will come together for a rocking night of entertainment at the annual International Chinese New Year Night Parade. Named one of the world’s best events, this world-class spectacle will be held on Friday (February 16). Watch colourful floats sail past and enjoy lively performances with thousands of other spectators along Tsim Sha Tsui’s main streets, while soaking in the electric, buzzing atmosphere.
Further out in the city, the track comes alive at the Sha Tin Racecourse for the Chinese New Year Raceday on February 18. Horseracing is a British colonial legacy embraced enthusiastically by the local population, and the Hong Kong races have the highest turnover in the world. For the very first race of the Year of the Dog, thousands of Hongkongers and visitors will flock to the racecourse for an exciting, fun-filled New Year programme, complete with live entertainment and activity booths.
Adding to the festivities is the Great European Carnival at the Central Harbourfront Event Space, which will be transformed into a fun-filled outdoor amusement park from December to February. Take a ride on the giant swing carousel, try your luck at a games booth, and enjoy a circus performance.
Every Chinese New Year, the Che Kung Temple is awash in a sea of colourful spinning “wheels of fortune” decorations that dance along with the breeze - a breath-taking sight to behold. It’s famed military-commander-turned-deity Che Kung’s birthday, which happens to fall on the second day of Chinese New Year, making the celebrations at the Che Kung Temple a doubly auspicious affair. Join thousands of well-wishers as they pay their respects to Che Kung and celebrate the New Year all at once.
The Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees are another popular destination for Hongkongers during the New Year. Located in Lam Tsuen Village in Tai Po, the original trees were believed to bring good fortune, and villagers would toss joss papers into their branches in the hope their wishes would come true. Every Chinese New Year, the village is crowded with overwhelming requests for luck from visitors from all over the city.
Also worth the trip are the colourful Flower Markets, which are packed to the brim with everything you need for Chinese New Year, from traditional decorations, souvenirs and delicious treats to vivid and exotic blooms. Various “lucky plants” carry their own auspicious omens: for instance, kumquats represent “wealth”, and peach blossoms symbolise “romance” and “longevity”.
Poon Choi — or one-pot casseroles — are a hallmark of traditional village dining culture, and are especially prevalent during Chinese New Year. Made from layering different types of ingredients, from meat and poultry to seafood and vegetables, on top of each other in a giant pot or basin, Poon Choi is a heart-warming communal dish that is perfect for big groups and celebrations. Visitors can sample this distinct dish at select restaurants across the city.
There are also plenty of auspicious-sounding ingredients in Cantonese cuisine that make perfect New Year dishes. For instance, tongyuen dumplings, which sound similar to the word “reunion” in Cantonese, symbolise the coming together of family and make for an ideal dessert during this happy time. Dried oysters (“ho si” in Cantonese) are phonetically reminiscent of “good business”, and are especially popular with Hong Kong entrepreneurs. Glutinous rice cake or pudding (“neen go” in Cantonese) sounds like “tall year”, which can be roughly translated as “reaching higher skies each year”.
Find out more about how and where to celebrate by clicking on www.DiscoverHongKong.com.