Festivals in Hong Kong

Festivals in Hong Kong

Tradition meets modernity and the East blends with the West all year in Hong Kong throughout its festivals. From the officially supported Mega Events Fund and "M" Mark Events to ancient and quirky local festivals, there's something for everyone in this vibrant city.

Chinese New Year

Celebrations start with the Chinese New Year, Hong Kong's most celebrated festival. A frenzy of neon and noise, skyscrapers on both sides of the harbor are lit up while fireworks explode over the harbor. This event takes place three days from the first day of the first moon, usually late January or early February.

Spring Lantern (Yuen Siu)

Known as the Chinese Valentine's Day, Spring Lantern (Yuen Siu) Festival marks the end of the traditional Lunar New Year celebrations. The reason why Cupid makes his appearance on this festival is that the event is characterized by canoodling couples who take to the parks under the gentle glow of lanterns. This festival takes place on the 23rd of the 3rd moon (April).

Cheung Chau Bun Festival

Another remarkable event is the Cheung Chau Bun Festival. Young men used to climb up 8m (26ft) towers covered in buns. This practice, however, was banned in the 1970s as some men would fall off and injure themselves. The event was revived in a tamer form in 2005. The festival takes place on the 6th day of the 4th moon (May).

Ching Ming Festival

Also known as the grave-sweeping festival, ching ming means "clear and bright." Chinese families visit the graves of their ancestors to clear them of any weeds and wilted flowers. It is a widespread practice to light incense and burn paper money. This event takes place on the first week of April.

Dragon Boat (Tuen Ng) Festival

During the Dragon Boat (Tuen Ng) Festival, drums thunder and paddles churn the waters of Hong Kong as garish craft vie for the top prize. The festival was founded to commemorate Qu Yuan, a 3rd-century poet-statesman who drowned himself to protest against corrupt rulers. The festival takes place on the 5th day of the 5th moon (early June) on various venues.

Hungry Ghost (Yue Laan) Festival

From the 14th day of the seventh moon, Chinese believe the gates of Hell are kicked open and the undead run free on Earth for a whole month. During that time, countless "Hell money" is burned on pyres along with various hillsides. Consequently, this is not a good time for hiking. The festival takes place across various locations in July.

Mid-Autumn Festival

This is an unmissable festival in Hong Kong as it is the most picturesque. Families flock to the city parks to burn candles and feast on yolk-centered moon-cakes. Modernity has also influenced this festival, as nowadays the intricate paper lanterns have increasingly been supplanted by glowing, blow-up Hello Kitty, Doraemon and Pokémon dolls. This event takes place on the 15th night of the 8th moon (August). A good spot to watch this festival is Victoria Park.

Chung Yeung Festival

This event requires hiking as it honors a Han Dynasty scholar who took his family up a hill and came back to find the rest of his village murdered. The event takes place on the 9th evening of the 9th moon (usually mid-to late October on any hilltop.