This weekend was Chinese New Year, so Friday and Monday are bank holidays.
Chinese New Year is all about visiting family, eating & superstition.
At this time of the year Hong Kong is decorated with lots of red and since it’s the year of the horse, horses.
There are quite a few New Year traditions:
New Year Market: several markets pop up around Hong Kong, selling flowers and handmade toys/gimmicks.
They get really crowded but there’s a great festive vibe going on.
The New Year Table: Chinese are really superstitious, so in order to bring good luck in the New Year people prepare a small table with:
- A Chinese New Year Candy box: inside the box are several candies with superstitious names (example: pistachios, which are called the happy nut in Cantonese).
- Various plants and flowers, because when they bloom they are supposed to bring love and money.
Family visits & New Year Wishes: people will go from house to house to visit relatives and exchanges wishes and candies.
As soon as you walk into the house you do the special hand greeting (photo below, courtesy of google), wish people a happy new year, followed by as many wishes you like: health, money, love…
I only know two: gong hey fat choy 恭喜發財(fortune) & san tai gin hong 身體健康(health).
Red envelops: married couples give unmarried relatives (usually children and young adults) red envelops with money inside.
Superstitious people will collect bank notes which have ID numbers starting with 888 (meaning money comes).
The lion dance: no need to introduce this one. I didn’t see any this year, because apparently one must go to villages to see the dance and I was in restaurants/apartments stuffing my face.
Fireworks: 25mins of huge fireworks over Victoria Harbour. We saw it from a biiig distance because we didn’t fancy the crowd. But we got some pics off other people.