Hong Kong can be termed as ‘The Land of Contradictions’. Natural beauty is somehow complemented by bustling city life. Similarly, Chinese traditions and western culture co-exist peacefully here.
As Hong Kong is a multi-cultural destination, many different festivals are celebrated in this legendary land. Here, we have focused upon some of the colourful Chinese festivals.
Dragon and Lion Dance Festival
The name says it all! The Dragon and Lion Dance Festival showcases hundreds of artificial and eye-catching dragons, lions and celestial guardians, marching and dancing through the streets to commemorate the approaching new year. Already well-known in the region, the Dragon and Lion Dance Festival is celebrated every year on 1st January. In 2011, this festival created a Guinness World Record by displaying 1,111 dragons and lions.
Chinese New Year
Celebrated on the first moon of the Lunar Calendar, the Chinese New Year is one of the most important holidays for the Chinese. People clean their houses and put up traditional New Year decorations. Family members have dinner together. They may watch conventional Chinese shows and launch fireworks later. Individuals wear red clothes and give children ‘lucky money’ in red envelopes. Red represents fire, which is believed to drive bad luck away.
Spring Lantern Festival
This festival is truly a treat to the eyes! Held on the 15th day of the first lunar month, the Spring Lantern Festival features innumerable colourful lanterns, which beautify markets, restaurants and hotels. The main celebration is held in Tsim Sha Tsui at the Hong Kong Cultural Central Piazza, which is open to the public for free. The theme of the festival changes annually, with lanterns assuming the shape of a particular animal. The lantern carnival is a must-watch! It presents folk songs, traditional dances and instrumental performances.
Dragon Boat Festival
Also called the ‘Tueng Ng Festival’, the Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated on the 5th day of the 5th Lunar month. There are dragon boat races in which international teams of paddlers compete against each other in long narrow boats. To make this fiesta more lively and spirited, drums are played and beer is offered. As per a popular legend, the Dragon Boat Festival came into existence due to an old man named ‘Qu Yuan’. He was so saddened with his nation’s government that he drowned himself in the river.
There’s not a better way to interact with locals than by participating in the ‘Well Wishing Festival’. In this fiesta, participants share a meal with locals. Post this, they write their wish on a piece of paper and tie it with a string. On one end of the string is an orange. Participants toss them upwards, aiming for a sturdy branch (wishing tree). These wishing trees are situated in the village of Lam Tsuen in the New Territories.