I’m still in my first year of living in Hong Kong and this February I had the opportunity to experience Chinese New Year.
Having lived in San Francisco, home to the largest China Town in the States, I’ve seen parades and CNY celebrations which were a lot of fun and also the oldest/largest celebrations outside of Asia. Even so, living in a Chinese culture for CNY changes everything, kinda like being in Mexico changes Cinco de Mayo.
First off, I was impressed by the scope and the high quality of decorations leading up to CNY. There were flowers and blossoming bushes and trees everywhere, adorned with well wishes written on paper and wood block decorations. Lanterns and lights lit up the city just as much as all of the lasers and neon signs of the businesses.
Then came the celebration events. CNY is nearly a week long. On the actual New Year’s Day, I attended the big parade in Tsim Sha Tsui that was full of the most amazing floats, costumes and lion dancers. I was also surprised by mulit-cultural aspect of the parade… bag pipes, Latin/Carnival-like dancers, African drums and more. It was a spectacle that lasted over 2 hours!
The next day were the fireworks. I’ve seen some great fireworks displays from traveling throughout the States for the 4th of July and I must say, these were among the best I’ve seen. I was even more fortunate to be able to view the event with some friends from our own boat in Victoria Harbor and did not have to deal with the crowds full of millions of people. If anyone wants to watch fireworks in Hong Kong, I highly recommend renting a junk (party boat)!
The following 2 days were spent hiking in the northern parts of Hong Kong and visiting the temples. There are such amazing temples here full of statues, beautifully designed and painted architecture, and pristine gardens. The one thing I have to say though, is don’t visit the temples during CNY. Holy crowded, Batman! There was also so much incense everywhere I think I still smell like it.
I’ve got a few pictures from the week posted here. I’ll be posting more in a proper photo album soon.