Festivals in Hong Kong, China

  • Chinese Lunar New Year

    • 31 Jan 2014–1 Feb 2014

    Chinese Lunar New Year is the most important of all the Chinese festivals and is the most frenetic happening in the country. It occurs on the 1st day of the 1st moon (January/February) with celebrations lasting three days. Firework displays, lion (or dragon) dances, parades and much more fill the streets with their gaiety and colour. This is also the time to shop for bargains as many shops hold sales with items being cut by 50% or more at times. One of the main horse racing events falls over Chinese New Year as well and this sport is certainly popular with locals and tourists alike. Many shops close for three days over the Chinese New Year.

  • The Spring Latern (Yuen Siu) Festival

    • 14 Feb 2014

    The Spring Latern (Yuen Siu) Festival, also referred to as Chinese Valentine's Day, is held on the 15th day of Lunar New Year and marks the end of the Chinese New Year celebrations. Restaurants, temples and many homes are decorated with colourful lanterns. During the festival, singles gather to play matchmaking games with the lanterns, to determine who will be their lover. The festival is marked by special evening celebrations in Ko Shan Road Park in Kowloon.

  • The Ching Ming Festival

    • 5 Apr 2014

    The Ching Ming Festival is held on 5 April. On this day families visit the cemeteries to worship and clean their ancestors' graves to show their respect. "Remembrance of Ancestors Day", is a key holiday in the Chinese calendar and the tradition goes back thousands of years.

  • Birthday of Tin Hau

    • 22 Apr 2014

    Hong Kong’s maritime heritage ensures that Tin Hau, Goddess of the Sea and patron saint of fishermen, has a strong and loyal following here. On her birthday, locals flock to the more than 70 temples dedicated to her in Hong Kong to pray for safety, security, fine weather and full fishing nets during the coming year. So enduring is the reverence for Tin Hau in Hong Kong that this festival is even celebrated by many young people who are more likely to catch a fish in a seafood restaurant than on a trawler.

  • Cheung Chau Bun Festival

    • 3 May 2014–7 May 2014

    Every year, the people of Cheung Chau get busy making papier-mâché effigies of deities, preparing costumes, baking buns and building a bamboo tower. They’re preparing for the thousands of people that will soon descend upon their tiny island for what Time.com deemed one of the world's 'Top 10 Quirky Local Festivals'.

  • Birthday of Buddha

    • 6 May 2014

    The Birthday of the Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama), the founder of Buddhism, also called the Buddha Bathing Festival, is one of the most spiritual and unique festivals celebrated in Hong Kong.

  • Tam Kung’s Birthday

    • 6 May 2014

    Like Tin Hau, the Goddess of the Sea, Tam Kung is revered amongst fishermen and coastal communities; however, the worship of this deity is unique to Hong Kong. Born in the Huizhou prefecture in Guangdong Province during the Yuan dynasty (1206-1368), Tam Kung was capable of forecasting the weather and healing the ill when he was a child. His statue is usually portrayed as an 80-year-old man with the face of a 12-year-old child because he is believed to have achieved wisdom at a young age and learned the secret of remaining forever young.

  • Dragon Boat Festival

    • 2 Jun 2014

    It’s hard to imagine that the vibrancy and fun of the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival has its origins in a tragedy that occurred 2000 years ago. The Dragon Boat Festival, also known as the Tuen Ng Festival, commemorates the death of Qu Yuan, a Chinese National Hero. In a protest against corrupt rulers, Qu drowned himself in the Mi Lo River.

  • Birthday of Kwan Tai

    • 20 Jul 2014

    Worshipped somewhat paradoxically by both police and the secret societies they investigate, it could be said that Kwan Tai has the crime and punishment market very well cornered. But the erstwhile Han dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD) general, who became immortalised as the God of War, is widely regarded as a symbol of loyalty and integrity, and therefore appeals to all military-like groups (many Chinese secret societies originated as revolutionary organisations.)

    His birthday is marked by elaborate ceremonies across town, including those at the Man Mo Temple on Hong Kong Island, where an ever-burning lamp flickers before Kwan Tai’s statue.

  • Seven Sisters Festival

    • 2 Aug 2014

    Informally known as ‘Chinese Valentine’s Day’ (along with the Spring Lantern Festival) the Seven Sisters Festival has its origins in the two stars Altair and Vega. Chinese legend tells that these shining beauties are actually two lovers – a mortal cowherd and a goddess weaver – who have been cruelly separated on either side of the Milky Way. While the tale has several variations, many say that on this date each year the magpies of the world take pity on the star-crossed pair and form a temporary bridge for them to be united.

  • The Hungry Ghost Festival

    • 10 Aug 2014

    While the festival’s origins are not unlike those of Halloween in Europe, it is also intrinsically linked to the Chinese practice of ancestor worship. For the visitor, it’s a perfect opportunity to see some of the city’s living culture in action, with many people tending roadside fires and burning faux money and other offerings for ghosts and ancestors to use in the afterlife. Food is also left out to sate the appetite of the hungry ghosts.

  • Mid-Autumn Festival

    • 8 Sep 2014

    The Mid-Autumn Festival turns Hong Kong into an enchanting world of fiery dragons, ancient lanterns and modern light shows! During this ancient Chinese festival, Asia’s world city pays homage to its roots, a bygone era when farmers thanked the moon god for bountiful harvests. In true Hong Kong spirit, age-old tradition and innovation rub shoulders for a fun family week.

  • Monkey God Festival

    • 9 Sep 2014

    Today, people remember the Monkey God by burning incense and paper offerings on his festival. The best place to see these rituals take place is at the Monkey God Temple at Po Tat Estate in Sau Mau Ping in Kowloon, where hundreds of people will turn up to present offerings.

  • Birthday of Confucius

    • 20 Sep 2014

    Born around 2500 years ago, Confucius is one of the most influential of China’s philosophers. The lauded man left a world-famous legacy of teachings and ethical principles that stress self-enlightenment through the Five Virtues of charity, justice, propriety, wisdom and loyalty. Confucius’ influence on social and family practices can still be found in China and other Asian countries today. For example, filial devotion and ancestor worship, evident in the celebrations of the Ching Ming and Chung Yeung festivals, are cornerstones of Confucianism.

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