Kung Hei Fat Choy! Millions of people around the world join in as many Asian countries celebrate the arrival of the Lunar or Chinese New Year, with colorful traditions designed to help ensure health, prosperity and good luck in the coming year.
This Year of the Rabbit is ‘lucky’ indeed, as Hong Kong has just recently reopened for travel! Our friends at the Hong Kong Tourism Board have shared the most fortuitous ways to celebrate the arrival of the Year of the Rabbit in ‘Asia’s World City.’
Just like Hong Kong itself, some are steeped in historic tradition, while others take on a distinctly ultra-modern twist – and all make this a Lunar New Year to remember.
1. Find your own ‘Lucky Rabbit’
One of the best things about Lunar New Year Celebrations is that they are not over in just one evening as a clock strikes midnight. Until early February, a series of dazzling, Year of the Rabbit-themed displays created by the Hong Kong Tourism Board transform Victoria harborfront.
The central display is a giant Lucky Rabbit on the roof of the Central Pier. Visitors will also discover more hoppin' displays – each with mesmerizing themes, lights, music, and interactive elements – at Admiralty's Tamar Park, the Wan Chai Temporary Promenade and Tsim Sha Tsui's Hong Kong Cultural Centre.
2. Experience Unique Hong Kong CNY Traditions
The Year of the Rabbit marks the return of many authentic Hong Kong CNY customs for visitors to enjoy! Get into the spirit by wearing red, the most auspicious color, and taking in these other uniquely Hong Kong CNY events:
Head to the Chinese New Year flower markets for festive shopping and take in good fortune as blooms signify wealth in Chinese culture.
CNY Raceday in Sha Tin’s epic horseraces, lion dance performances and holiday décor add high excitement to New Year celebrations, and allow you to gather good luck – and even test it with a small bet on the race.
(Image: Lam Tsuen Rural Committee Office)
The Hong Kong Well-Wishing Festival in Lam Tsuen is another age-old CNY tradition. Visitors are encouraged to join, too. You can write down wishes on a notecard, tie it to a mandarin orange, and toss it into a legendary Wishing Tree. If the fruit catches a branch, it’s an auspicious sign your wish may come true!
3. Hop On Auspicious Harbor Tours
It’s customary to usher in luck and prosperity by spending time outdoors for Chinese New Year. Visitors can embrace the tradition with a scenic Victoria Harbour cruise aboard a historic Star Ferry. Along the way, try to catch the Lucky Rabbit hiding on the ferry!
4. Taste Classic Lunar New Year Dishes with Modern Twists
A time for connection, Chinese New Year brings families together over delicious meals symbolizing longevity, fortune and wealth. Year after year, Hong Kong restaurants reinvigorate traditional CNY dishes with fresh ideas.
(Image: Green Common)
This year, Green Common has reinvented poon choi (or 'prosperity stew' made with meat, seafood and veggies) using only plant-based meat alongside vegetarian ingredients. Meanwhile, in a purely local Hong Kong twist, Häagen-Dazs has transformed traditional nin gou (a sticky rice cake representing prosperity) into a CNY ice cream cake, which also comes with another option of Chinese candy box (named chuen hup in Cantonese meaning togetherness and perfection).
5. Give Creative Gifts of Good Fortune
Throughout CNY, Hong Kong people bring gifts to family gatherings to spread goodwill and fortune with loved ones, and visitors will not be able to resist joining in!
Putting a spin on tradition, Dang Wen Li by Dominique Ansel bakery has crafted mochi buns in the shape of mandarins – a symbol of good fortune – alongside a gift box brimming with sweet delicacies, which features a centrepiece decoration of a cute rabbit performing lion dance.
(Image: The Cakery)
Another pastry shop, The Cakery, is whipping up adorable rabbit-themed fondant cookies that are perfect for CNY.
While some of these experiences are only available during Chinese New Year festivities in Hong Kong, it’s a destination with evocative year-round traditions and ultra-modern atmosphere and energy and now it’s re-opened, we can’t wait to get back to Hong Kong!
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Images courtesy Hong Kong Tourism Board