The Year of the RAT will be upon us soon! Chinese New Year is a very special time of year and if you are looking for things to do in Hong Kong during Chinese New Year, there are plenty of ways to mark the occasion. Many of the family-run eateries are closed for the holidays to celebrate the new year and also to take a much-needed rest. As such, our Foodie Tours will also be closed, resuming on February 1st, 2020. Do not despair, however, if you will be visiting Hong Kong during this time of the year. There are lots of activities for you to experience Hong Kong and our culture with us during this fun time of the year. Here are our suggestions for top things to do during Chinese New Year.

1. Eat many Fabulous Dishes with Good Fortune Names

Chinese New Year dinner

Superstition and tradition are closely connected – even with the food that is consumed for Chinese New Year. Many of the foods that people eat during the holiday are not only delicious, they also have symbolic meaning. Some believe that they are more likely to get a pay rise or promotion at work if they tuck into puddings such as turnip pudding or taro pudding. Anything gold in colour is considered lucky which extends to golden or orange fruits, particularly tangerines, as their Chinese name sounds like the word for success.

2. Shop at Chinese New Year Flower Markets

CNY Flower Market

Open until New Year’s Eve, a visit to one of Hong Kong’s flower markets is a key part of Chinese New Year preparations. Plants and flowers typically associated with the holiday are snapped up in quantity. People purchase mandarin trees as they symbolise prosperity, while the blossom from a cherry or plum tree signifies new beginnings. For luck, shop for daffodils or bamboo. The two larger Flower Markets are at Victoria Park in Causeway Bay and Fa Hui Park in Mong Kok. Be sure to visit the markets from January 19th to 25th!

3. Chinese New Year Carnival

Chinese New Year Parade

Photo Credit: Hong Kong Tourism Board

EDIT ON JANUARY 23RD, 2020: THE 2020 CATHAY PACIFIC CHINESE NEW YEAR CARNIVAL IS CANCELLED.

The biggest event of every Chinese New Year has to be the Carnival/ Parade. Performers from around the world form an unmissable multicultural programme. Along the West Kowloon Promenade, there will be daily parades in the afternoon with a procession of floats, many of them sporting the traditional colours of red and gold, plus musicians, dancers and acrobats. It’s a magnificent spectacle and not to be missed. The Carnival is held between February 25th and 28th at the West Kowloon Cultural District Art Park. For more information, visit Hong Kong Tourism Board’s website.

4. Be Mesmerized by Lunar New Year Fireworks

fireworks

Photo Credit: Hong Kong Tourism Board

EDIT ON JANUARY 15TH, 2020: THE CHINESE NEW YEAR FIREWORKS 2020 IS CANCELLED.

The highlight of every Chinese New Year celebrations in Hong Kong is the spectacular fireworks over Victoria Harbour. On January 26th, the second day of Chinese New Year, fireworks will light up Hong Kong’s skyline from 8 pm. For the best locations to watch the fabulous firework display, check out our suggested vantage points.

5. Visit Wong Tai Sin Temple or Che Kung Temple

Wong Tai Sin Temple

Photo Credit: Hong Kong Tourism Board

Many of Hong Kong’s temples are especially busy at this time of year, but for visitors wishing to learn a little about the New Year celebrations, two in particular stand out. On New Year’s Eve, you will see people forming a queue outside the Wong Tai Sin temple. At midnight, they make their way inside and light sticks of incense. It is thought that the earlier you get the incense burning, the greater the luck you will have, which is why there is such a rush to be first inside. The other temple worthy of a special mention is Che Kung temple in Sha Tin. Across the territory, people participate in the kau cim ritual but the future of Hong Kong for the year ahead hangs on a fortune stick shaken by a member of the government from a tin at Che Kung.

6. Make a Wish at Lam Tsuen Well Wishing Tree

Lam Tsuen Well Wishing Tree

Another of the most popular things to do during Chinese New Year centres on Lam Tsuen. Hundreds of thousands of people flock to its two great banyan trees. They tie wishes to tangerines which hang from the trees and light lanterns to float in the wishing pool. Couples can also write their names on wooden love locks to symbolise their commitment to each other.

7. Welcome the New Year with a Lion Dance

Lion Dance & Dragon Dance

Throughout the world, the lion dance forms part of the Chinese New Year celebrations. The creatures bring good luck and chase away evil spirits. It is a colourful, energetic and above all, loud, performance – dancers move to the rhythm of drums, gongs and clashing cymbals.  The dancers, often martial arts experts, imitate lions as they display feline traits such as scratching, licking fur and shaking their bodies.  Two dancers fill one lion costume; the person in the front controls its eyes and mouth. Their agile movements, sometimes performed on stilts, add character and wow the crowd. If you would like to learn more about the Lion Dance in Hong Kong, why not read our guide?

https://www.hongkongfoodietours.com/lion-dance-dragon-dance/

8. Bet on Horse Racing on Chinese New Year Race Day

Horse Racing

Photo Credit: Hong Kong Tourism Board

Sha Tin Racecourse in the New Territories hosts the Chinese New Year Race Day event each year and 2020 is no exception. Tourists who present a valid passport are eligible to enter the races for free. Horses and jockeys will compete for the honour of raising the Chinese New Year Cup. Join the excitement in Sha Tin on January 27th.

9. Check out the Lunar New Year Lantern Display 

Chinese New Year 2020

Lanterns feature across Hong Kong, but the place to go if you are looking for the wow factor is undoubtedly Cultural Centre Piazza, and especially after dark when the lanterns are lit. The theme this year is “Flying High with the Golden Dragon” for the Lunar New Year lantern display. In 2020, the exhibition runs from January 17th until February 9th, with the main Lantern Carnival Night scheduled to take place on February 8th.

You can check out Hong Kong Tourism Board’s website and Leisure & Cultural Services Department’s website for more information.

Hopefully, if you try some of top things to do in Hong Kong during Chinese New Year referred to in this list, you won’t miss our Foodie Tours too much. Remember we return on February 1st. Happy New Year!