Attention, Expats: Chinese New Year is Not Just for the Chinese!

Just moved to Hong Kong? Is it your first Chinese New Year in Hong Kong? Are you so experienced with celebrating Chinese New Year that you’ve run out of new ideas of things to do? With an increasing population over the past couple years, Asia’s World City attracts hundreds of thousands of immigrants each year. Those not of Chinese descent, range in nationalities from Indonesian, Filipino, Nepalese, Indian, Pakistani, Canadian, British, American, Koreans to Japanese, making up 6.4% of the city’s population. Here are some options for what to do this Chinese New Year with your family, friends and even individually!

Catch the Chinese New Year Parade

Head on over to the bustling streets of Tsim Sha Tsui to witness a showcase of dancers, cheerleaders and marching bands from all over the world! Book your seats at the Cultural Centre or watch it for free with the crowds around Haiphong Road, Nathan Road and Canton Road. Unfortunately, the annual fireworks display has been cancelled this year out of respect to the victims of a bus accident that took place last week.

Head of Hakka the unicorn. (Photo by: Bernard Spragg. Flickr)

Adventurous sparklers

Disclaimer: not for the faint-hearted. Those of you looking for a substitute for the annual fireworks and a little adventure, head over to Macau to set off firecrackers yourselves!

Trisha Daswani, a 20-year-old Indian university student raised in Hong Kong, said “Lighting firecrackers in Taipa is an annual tradition in our family, it’s the closest thing to Diwali (Indian New Year) for us!”

Firecrackers. (Photo by: FreeUsePhotos. Flickr)

The reclaimed land on Avenue Sun Yat Sen near the Macau Tower and the waterfront at Estrada almirante Marques Esparteiro in Taipa are the two locations open to the public from February 15 to 20. Buy your crackers on site and light them up!

Soak up the culture

Visit temples such as Wong Tai Sin, Che Kung and Man Mo to pray for a blissful and peaceful new year. Plan your visit with enough time to wait in the queue for at least an hour or so during the first two days of the new year.

Burning incense at Man Mo Temple, Hong Kong. (Photo by: amanderson2. Flickr)

Flower markets this time of year are the place to be! Victoria Park and Mong Kok are prime destinations that sell products ranging from fresh flowers to bizarre toys. Haggle your way through purchasing your favourite varieties of orchids and peonies which symbolise health, wealth and prosperity in Chinese culture.

Wish away at Lam Tsuen Wishing Tree in Tai Po! Word has it, that writing your wish on a card, tying it to a mandarin and throwing it onto the Tree will make your wishes come true.

Be a tourist in your own city

Since almost everyone is busy with their families and friends this holiday, take this opportunity to visit all the classic tourist spots you always wished weren’t so packed with people.

Elise Coblentt, a French student studying at the University of Hong Kong, said “I’ve lived in Hong Kong for two years now, and the best time to visit tourist spots would definitely be over Chinese New Year! Places like the Pirate Cave in Cheung Chau would be something fun to check out.”

Outlying islands such as Peng Chau, Cheung Chau and Lamma Island would also make a perfect getaway from the city and its fast-paced lifestyle.

Indulge on delicious treats

Chinese New Year is all about the food, use this as an opportunity to try all the delicacies Hong Kong has to offer while also trying traditional new year foods!

Joanna Caluag, a 22-year-old Filipino expat born and raised in Hong Kong, said “My family used to eat Nian Gao (Chinese New Year’s cake) while watching the parade every year. Our building security guards would offer my brother and I tangerines for good fortune.”

Foods such as dumplings, spring rolls, tangyuan (sweet rice balls), changshou mian (longevity noodles) are all considered to bring good luck for the coming year, so these should be high up on your must-try list! Bon appétit!

Tangerines. (Photo by: Diệu Nữ. Flickr)

You’re now set to celebrate your first (Shroffed approved), authentic Chinese New Year in Hong Kong while devouring the foods and appreciating the culture! Kung Hei Fat Choy (Congratulations and be prosperous) everyone, hope you all have a safe and healthy new year!

Editor: Wilson
Reporter: Mayuri
Copyeditor: Jasmine
Content Manager: Seungyeon

 

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