A seamless combination of ancient tradition, culture, urbanization and modern progress, tourists from all over the world can’t help but make Hong Kong their next travel destination. At the heart of Southeast Asia, Hong Kong has evolved to a bustling city, famed for being a global financial centre, ultimate shopping experiences and a place for social and cultural activities.
Skiddoo.com.sg, an online travel agent with the largest selection of the lowest airfares anywhere in the world, including 100,000 that you won’t find anywhere else, has put together this useful list of holidays in Hong Kong.
Before heading down, do check out Hong Kong’s public holiday schedule to ensure you’re not missing out on all the fun! To help you plan that ultimate perfect trip, here are some of the most festive and culturally important holidays you have to experience.
1. Chinese New Year
Considered one of the most important holidays in Hong Kong, the Chinese New Year usually runs between January 21 and February 20, making it the longest festival in the Chinese calendar. It is also a popular time for tourists to visit and explore the city. Iconic activities during the Chinese New Year are lion and dragon dances that parade in different parts of the city. These traditional dances are a must-see for anyone traveling in Hong Kong during that period. Locals are also known to put up decorations on house windows and doors with red paper-cuttings and couplets that symbolize wealth, longevity, happiness, and good fortune. It is also common practice to gift money enclosed in red lucky envelopes also known as “Ang Baos”, together with the lighting of firecrackers.
These traditions date back to ancient days, where honouring deities and family ancestors were taken to be a sacred practice. Part of these practices include an annual reunion gathering of the whole family on the eve of New Year’s Day, as well as cleaning the entire house to drive away bad luck and welcome the New Year’s good fortune.
With numerous flights to Hong Kong available, it is definitely worth experiencing the traditional Chinese New Year at the heart of this vibrant city. Families can also spend the holidays at the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort.
2. Dragon Boat Festival
A traditional and statutory holiday in Hong Kong, the Dragon Boat Festival happens every 5th day of the 5th month of the Lunar Calendar, usually in June. Highlights of the festival include the consumption of ‘zongzi’, a sticky rice snack wrapped in bamboo leaves, celebrating with realgar wine, and of course, dragon boat races. For Dragon Boat enthusiasts and athletes,traveling in Hong Kong during this festival will surely be a great experience. Present are numerous authentic Dragon Boats hand-made in the Chinese provinces, mostly out of the teak wood and are available in different sizes and designs with the head and tail being the most decorated.
For those interested, here’s some trivia from the Hong Kong Traveller: Dragon Boat racing is said to have originated when an old man named Qu Yuan was so frustrated with the government that he jumped into the river as a form of protest. The villagers rushed to the water and paddled their boats and banged their gongs and drums to scare away anything that could harm the old man as they tried to save him.
3. Mid-Autumn Festival
Considered to be the second biggest traditional Chinese Holiday season, the Mid-Autumn Festival is a celebration of good harvest and family reunions. It remains an important holiday for the Chinese culture and is now celebrated with bright colorful lanterns, fire dragon and lion dances, festive food and drinks, and to the delight of tourists, shopping sales! The festival happens during the 8th Full Moon of the Lunar Calendar, approximately during September/October in the Western Calendar. Some highlights include the multitudes of lanterns in impressive variety of colors, shapes, and sizes, temporarily transforming Hong Kong into a lovely city of lights.
Perhaps the most prominent symbol of the Mid-Autumn festival are mooncakes. A local snack that has now been modernized with different flavors and fillings, the traditional mooncake is a pastry filled with egg yolks and lotus seed paste. According toDiscover Hong Kong, the mooncakes originated from the Yuan Dynasty revolutionaries, who used them to secretly pass messages to each other.
For tourists scheduled to travel to Hong Kong during the Mid-Autumn festival, a three day parade of the Fire Dragon Dance can be witnessed at Tai Hang and Victoria Park. Officially established as an intangible heritage of Chinese culture, the parade features a 67-meter-long dragon dancing to the beat of drums and gongs, along with thousands of burning incense sticks. There are also cultural programs for those who are like Kung Fu demonstrations, folk song and dance shows, fortune telling, game stalls, acrobatics, lantern riddle quizzes, and more.
For a truly memorable trip full of great experiences and appreciation of Chinese culture, make sure to be present during these important holidays in Hong Kong.