Gung Hei Fat Choy! Celebrating Chinese New Year 2013 in Hong Kong

Gung hei fat choy!

The shops have all started selling red and gold decorations, lanterns and red envelopes galore…and that can only mean one thing– Chinese New Year is just around the corner here in Hong Kong.

Plenty of Chinese New Year store displays

Plenty of Chinese New Year store displays

Chinese New Year this year falls between February 10th and the 24th. The celebration lasts 15 days and will be filled with auspicious foods, family and astonishing fireworks.

Asia’s world city welcomes the Year of the Snake (my year!) with the perfect blend of modern and traditional events–and as many people will be traveling to Hong Kong during this time, it’s time to start planning how you will celebrate!

Chinese New Year’s Eve February 9th, 2013 New Year’s Eve is spent finishing up spring cleaning and putting the final touches on the decorations. Afterward, everyone engages in family reunion dinners to ring in the New Year.
Chinese New Year Day (Day 1) February 10th, 2013 New Years day is often spent paying respect to ancestors and then going out to see the parade at night.

Cathay Pacific International Chinese New Year Night Parade

The night parade is one of the favorite parts of Chinese New Year. The world-famous parade will be filled with floats, dragons and other performances.

If you miss the parade, the beautiful floats will be on display the following week at various locations throughout Hong Kong.

Time: 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Where: The parade route goes from Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza in Tsim Sha Tsui and circles around to the Sheraton Hong Kong Hotel and Towers
How to get there: MTR Tsim Sha Tsui Station Exit L6

Day 2 February 11th, 2013 The second day of New Year is a time for women to return home to their families to have a reunion meal and at night the best firework display of the year is held.

2013 Lunar New Year Fireworks Display 

Similarly to Western New Year, Chinese New Year is rung in with fireworks. And with China being the inventor of fireworks, this is a show you won’t want to miss!

Time: 8:00 pm
Where: The harbourfront
How to get there: MTR Tsim Sha Tsui Exit L6 or East Tsim Sha Tsui Exit J

Day 3 February 12th, 2013 Chinese New Year Race Day (Horse Racing)

 Called ‘chec hao’, this day is considered a time when arguments are likely to happen. People try their best to avoid any arguments and instead spend the day out at the racetrack.

Hong Kongers love to gamble, so everyone loves to head over to Sha Tin Racecourse hoping to kick off the New Year with a win!

Time: 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Where: Sha Tin Racecourse
How to get there: MTR Fo Tan Station 

Day 4 February 13th, 2013 Everyone returns to work this day and shops reopen–but the celebrations don’t stop here. There are still 11 more days to celebrate.For the sports fans, The Asian Challenge Cup football finals are held this night.
Day 7 February 16th, 2013 The seventh day of Chinese New Year is called “Renri”, which is the Common Man’s Birthday. So wish yourself and all of your loved ones–or anyone you see, a happy birthday on this day!
Day 15 February 24th, 2013 Lunar New Year Lantern Carnival

Chinese New Year ends with a beautiful display of lanterns throughout all of Hong Kong.There are larger displays at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza, but you can also find smaller displays set up in almost any community or storefront.

Time: 6:00 pm (sunset) onward
Where: Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza
How to get there: MTR Tsim Sha Tsui Station Exit L6

Lanterns hung outside for CNY

Lanterns hung outside for CNY

Other Ways to Celebrate…

Chinese New Year Flower Markets  

Special flower markets open in anticipation for the New Year. People search for the perfect flowers to use as decorations and as gifts. If you can bear the crowds to pick up some flowers, some of the plants that are considered auspicious include mandarin trees, willows and bamboo.

Date: 4 February 2013 – 9 February 2013
Time: early – 9:00 pm
Where: Victoria Park
How to get there: MTR Causeway Bay Station Exit E

Gung hei fat choy

Hong Kong Well-Wishing Festival

People travel from all over to participate in the Well-Wishing Festival. There are two main ways to make a wish for the New Year: the Wishing Trees or the Wishing Lanterns.

Write your wish on a piece of paper tied to an orange with a string. Throw it into the Wishing Trees and if it catches on the branches, your wish is said to come true.

There will also be ceremonies throughout the festivities for releasing Wishing Lanterns into the night sky– just don’t forget to make your wish before you let go!

Date: 10 February 2013 – 23 February 2013
Time: All day
Where: Lam Tsuen, Tai Po
Website can be found here
How to get there: MTR Tai Po Station. Exit the station and take the 64K bus to Lam Tsuen

Hong Kong Disneyland’s Chinese New Year Celebration

Hong Kong Disneyland will soon be filled with gongs, red envelopes, lanterns and lion dances in celebration for the New Year.

Characters will be dressed in traditional Chinese clothes and one special character will become this new year’s representative. For Year of the Rat it was Mickey, for Year of the Tiger it was Tigger and for Year of the Dragon it was Mushu … who do you think will represent this year’s Year of the Snake?

Date: Last week of January 2013 – Mid-February 2013
Time: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
Where: Hong Kong Disneyland, Lantau Island
How to get there: MTR Disneyland Resort Line

Year of the Snake – The Peak Tower’s Wheel of Fortune

See beautiful sights while getting lucky with the “Wheel of Fortune” at The Peak!

Date: 10 January 2013 – 28 February 2013
Where: The Peak, Central

How to get there: MTR Central Station Exit J2, the walk north to the Peak Tram Terminus

Sky-high 360-degree Good Fortune Walk

The Chinese say that if you walk in a circle good fortune will follow–so try your luck at the Good Fortune Walk while taking in beautiful 360-views of Hong Kong.

Date: 18 January 2013 – 24 February 2013
Where: ICC, Kowloon
How to get there: MTR Kowloon Station Exits C and D

Ngong Ping 360 Welcomes the Year of the Snake with a Lion Dance

Watch colorful lion dances throughout the Ngong Ping Village to celebrate the Year of the Snake.

Date: 10 February 2013 – 17 February 2013
Where: Ngong Ping, Lantau Island
How to get there: MTR Tung Chung Station

Eat Lucky Food

Food is a large part of Hong Kong culture and during Chinese New Year is no exception. There are many foods that are specially prepared during the celebrations for their symbolic meanings.

Tong Yuen- Sweet rice balls filled with sesame or peanuts. The name sounds similar to the word “reunion”, which is also symbolized by the roundness. This is a popular treat to eat during family reunion dinners.

Mandarin Oranges- are often being handed out during Chinese New Year because their name is a homophone for luck and wealth.

Sticky rice cake- “Nin Go” is similar to “high” or “tall”, which symbolizes raising yourself higher each year.

Black moss- “Fa cai” sounds the same as “fat choy” or prosperity.

Dried Oysters- the word for these oysters “hao shi” sounds similar to the words “good business”, a must-have for a financial hub like Hong Kong.

Congee- called “zuk” in Cantonese, sounds like the word “satisfaction”. To show that people are satisfied with what they have, it is a common dish to eat on the 7th day of Chinese New Year (Renri) for the “Common Man’s Birthday”.

Delicious Tong Yuen

Delicious Tong Yuen

How will you celebrate the Year of the Snake?


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