This past Tuesday was Chinese New Year! This is the Year of the Pig, which means there has been a lot of pink mixed in with the traditional red and gold.
We wanted to try and experience Chinese New Year in Hong Kong best we could, but I think the best way to celebrate it is with family. If you are thinking about visiting Hong Kong, I would suggest avoiding Chinese New Year and the crowds of tourists. Many enjoy the experience, but I personally find Hong Kong on a regular day just as charming and less packed!
Here are the three things we did to celebrate:
The Flower Market
This was far and away my favorite! The market was packed with plants and people, and has a great energy. There were rows upon rows of the bright Mandarin orange trees. I didn’t buy any orange trees or other CNY decorative plants, but got a few leafy houseplants to keep in my dorm room.
If you visit the flower market, I recommend going in the morning- as the day progresses it becomes more and more packed.
Tuesday, the first day of the Lunar New Year, we went to see the parade in Tsim Sha Tsui, a neighboring area to campus. The route was packed, mostly with visitors from Mainland China and other places around the world. It was fun since I went with friends, but overall between the crowds and the slow pace of the parade made it the least exciting activity of the week.
Wednesday night had a 20 minute firework display to celebrate. We viewed from the waterfront near the dorms, which wasn’t the best angle but it was a good show and the weather was great at night. There were more crowds towards the better viewing points, but we found an area that had a lot less traffic so it was easier to see.
Overall, Hong Kong during Chinese New Year is certainly an experience. However, I would personally recommend coming before CNY. Starting about mid-January all the stores began setting up displays, and the flower market began its seasonal transformation. During Chinese New Year however I found that there were many more tourists than usual, and several of the things my friends and I enjoy doing usually were closed. I think the period leading up to the holiday is just as vibrant, less crowded and easier to enjoy the city!
Have you celebrated Chinese New Year? What was your favorite part? I’d love to know!