Are you wondering things to do in Hong Kong during Chinese New Year in 2016? February 8th marks the first day of the Year of the Monkey. If you are planning to visit Hong Kong before or during Chinese New Year, unfortunately, our Foodie Tours will be closed during this time, but there are still plenty of activities to do in Hong Kong to celebrate this festive occasion!

1. Eat Lots of Good Food!

Do we need to say more? All Chinese festivals centers around their traditional foods. For sure, Chinese New Year is associated with the most food you can think of among all festivals! It ranges from savory and sweet puddings such as turnip cakes, deep-fried goodies like sesame balls to Chinese delicacies that have auspicious meanings such as dried oysters and lettuce. There are just so many others to even list them out here! If you come to learn about our culture, you will find that most of these foods have meanings of abundance, health and prosperity, referring to having a better year ahead.

Chinese New Year Food

2. Visit Flower Markets

From noon on February 2nd to 6 am on February 8th, 15 parks in Hong Kong will host Flower Markets. We believe blossoming flowers bring good luck to you. Even if you do not plan to buy any flowers, it is also a blessing to walk around a flower market in a circle to achieve good fortune! Besides flowers, you can also buy creative goodies that you can bring home for decoration. The biggest Flower Markets are at the Victoria Park in Causeway Bay and Fa Hui Park in Mong Kok. Locals often go there after dinner on the eve of Chinese New Year. To avoid crowds, go between the 2nd and the 6th February!

Chinese New Year Flower Market

3. Attend the Night Parade

On the first evening of Chinese New Year on February 8th, the annual Chinese New Year Night Parade will be held in Tsim Sha Tsui on Canton Road, Salisbury Road and Nathan Road. To catch a glimpse of these beautifully decorated floats and watch local performance such as lion and dragon dance, get a spot on these main roads early before the event starts at 8 pm. See the parade route here.

4. Participate in Che Kung Festival

One of the four Che Kung Festivals falls on the second day of the first lunar month. This year, on February 9th, believers will flock to the Che Kung Temple in Shatin in the New Territories to turn the fan-bladed wheel of fortune and beat drums to pray for good luck in the new year. Visit the temple and buy yourself a wheel of fortune! More information regarding this Che Kung Festival can be found here.

5. Mesmerized by the Fireworks

One of the highlights of Chinese New Year celebrations is the Lunar New Year Fireworks Display over Victoria Harbour. Every year, on the second day of Chinese New Year, (for this year it is Tuesday, February 9th, 2016), fireworks will be lit above Victoria Harbour at 8 pm. You can watch it on both sides of the Harbour or book a cruise with a local tour operator. Check out Hong Kong Tourism Board’s website for more details.

Chinese New Year Fireworks over Victoria Harbor

6. Join the Chinese New Year Race Day

After watching the fireworks the night before, on Wednesday, February 10th, you can go to Sha Tin Racecourse in the New Territories to watch the first races of the Year of the Monkey! The Racecourse will be opened at 10:30 am and the first race will begin at 12:30 pm. (Persons under 18 are not allowed to enter the racecourse.) Hong Kong Jockey Club’s website has more details of the event.

7. Check out the Hong Kong Well-Wishing Festival

While you are visiting the New Territories, you may also want to plan a trip further north of Sha Tin to Tai Po to visit the Lam Tsuen Wishing Square to make a wish for the new year! Take the MTR to Tai Po Market or Tai Wo station and take the 64K bus to get to Lam Tsuen. For more information, visit Hong Kong Tourism Board’s website.

Lam Tsuen Wishing Tree

8. Receive red packets or Lai See

Last but not least, our number 8 things to do during Chinese New Year, quite apparently, has to do with “8”. The number 8 in Chinese culture implies prosperity. If you would like to gain some wealth in the new year, learn how to greet locals and wish them a prosperous new year by saying “Kung Hey Fat Choy”. You may have a chance to receive a red pocket (or a “Lai See”) with money! In the first 10 days of Chinese New Year, red pockets are given by elders in the family to younger family members, by married couples to single people or by bosses to employees. Check this chart out to determine if you should give or receive lai see.

laisee

With lots of things to do in Hong Kong during Chinese New Year, you should never have a dull moment. Enjoy all the festivities to welcome the Year of the Monkey! Kung Hey Fat Choy!