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Hong Kong Rings In The Year Of The Monkey

Kung hei fat choi! Hong Kong is a fun destination at any time, but to really see this city shine, Chinese New Year is the chance to celebrate the beginning of the lunar year with a bang. Now in its 21st year, the annual Cathay Pacific International Chinese New Year Night Parade is just one of the stellar events celebrating the lunar year. 2016 is the Year of the Monkey and you better bet there’ll be plenty of fun-filled festivities, auspicious eats and buzzing markets.

If you only attend one event in Hong Kong, make it Chinese New Year! (Image: HKTB)

Held on the first day of Chinese New Year (February 8), this year’s parade theme is ‘Playground of the Year – Party of the Year’ and the Tsim Sha Tsui area will be transformed into a massive red lantern-adorned playground, complete with festive floats, local and international performers plus Star Wars favourites Darth Vader and the Storm Troopers getting amongst the festivities. Plus there’s the famous fireworks show over Victoria Harbour.

Expect the colourful and traditional pageantry of the dragon and lion dances alongside towering stilt walkers, powerful percussion and the illuminated floats. This year’s performances also include a cultural dance troupe from the Philippines, dinosaur stilt walkers from the Netherlands and even cheerleaders from the USA. Local showcases involve the Hong Kong Rope Skipping Academy, Hong Kong Vigor Marching Band and martial arts displays.

Be  captivated by the traditional dragon and lion dances in the streets. (Image: HKTB)

Another Chinese New Year tradition in Hong Kong is visiting the flower markets to deck your abode with the perfect bloom to bring good luck and give as gifts in the Year of the Monkey. Running from February 2 to 8 in several major parks around Hong Kong Island and Kowloon (February 7 is known as the Hong Kong Flower Rush so expect a crush at the flower markets!), enjoy the colour and spectacle of this fragrant New Year ritual – peonies are ideal for prosperity, gift tangerine trees for good luck, peach blossoms bring romance, and chrysanthemums signify a long life.


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Temples are also crowded during this time, as locals give thanks for the previous year’s blessings and pray for good fortune for the coming months. You can also write your hopes down on joss paper and attach to the Lam Tsuen’s Wishing Tree in the New Territories or release a lantern into the sky and make a wish.

Festive floats and so much more for an auspicious start to the year. (Image: HKTB)

As a renowned foodie hotspot, auspicious foods are also part of the New Year ritual in Hong Kong. New Year treats to try include the New Year sticky rice cake (nian gao), turnip pudding cake, red bean paste dumplings and lotus seed dumplings, and ‘longevity noodles’ – uncut egg noodles that symbolise a long life.

For visitors, note that the first three days of Chinese New Year are public holidays in Hong Kong, however most shops and restaurants in the busiest parts of the city remain open as will theme parks and major attractions.

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Visit your local Flight Centre store or call 131 600 for more advice and the latest deals on travelling to Hong Kong.

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