Kung Hei Fat Choi! The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) announces as the Year of the Rat approaches, exciting plans are underway in Hong Kong. The HKTB, together with title sponsor Cathay Pacific Airways, is going to celebrate Chinese New Year in a brand new way this year – with the “Cathay Pacific International Chinese New Year Carnival”. Rather than simply staging the night parade on the first day of Chinese New Year, the HKTB is putting together a carnival that will run from the first day (January 25) through to the fourth day (January 28). In addition to the signature parade, the event will feature a variety of family-friendly elements, enabling locals and visitors alike to kick off an auspicious New Year with their loved ones.
HKTB Director- Canada, Central & South America Mr. Michael Lim said, “The HKTB has been staging its Chinese New Year event to spread happiness across the city for nearly a quarter of a century. This year being the Year of the Rat, the leader of the 12 Chinese zodiac signs, it is not only the beginning of a new cycle, but it also marks the staging of the 25th edition of this signature event. This provides the perfect opportunity to celebrate the much-loved festival in a new way. We will show to visitors from around the world with our fun, vibrant celebrations that Hong Kong remains an open and welcoming travel destination.”
The four-day carnival will be held at the Art Park of the West Kowloon Cultural District – also the first time for the HKTB’s Chinese New Year event. The carnival will include daily parades along the West Kowloon Waterfront Promenade as well as stage performances from day into the night. These displays will include the greatest number of international performing troupes in the event’s history. A total of 26 international troupes and 22 local groups, totalling over a thousand performers, will treat spectators to exciting demonstrations of acrobatics, dance, music, magic, comedy, jumping stilt performances and more. International teams include:
NBC World of Dance and HHI PH Varsity champions UPeepz and VPeepz from the Philippines will steal the spotlight with their dynamic hip hop dance moves.
Les Vitaminés, Canada, the high-energy duo, who often take part in street carnivals and parties, combine acrobatics, juggling, circus stunts, balancing acts, mime and a great deal of humour to delight their audiences.
While the parade and performances are the highlights of the New Year carnival, there will be far more going on over these days. Popular city photo spots will be decorated with giant installations of cartoon characters that are sure to delight children and provide families with photos that will remind them of their time in Hong Kong for years to come. Workshops on balloon twisting and face painting will also be available to keep children busy and happy.
Lion dances will be performed all over the region: in the streets and villages and even in hotel lobbies. Dazzling and exciting are the events that mark the New Year, but there’s another element that makes this time in Hong Kong so special: flowers. Flowers and plants, most with significance for health, prosperity and happiness in the New Year, are exchanged and displayed everywhere, the highlight being the flower market in Victoria Park where the exquisite offerings are traded under glowing lamplight, creating a display like no other.
And then there’s the food! Hong Kong is famous for its wide variety of food offerings, and the New Year is, of course, no exception. At New Year, restaurants and families serve traditional dishes that, it is believed, bring good luck, while the first Chinese New Year Carnival Market will feature 15 street food stalls offering international snacks to keep the carnival revellers happy.
The Lunar New Year celebrations draw to a close on the 15th day of the New Year with the Yuen Siu, or Spring Lantern Festival. A Taoist tradition, Yuen Siu is believed to be the day when the Lord of Heaven visits Earth to check up on humans. In his honour, exhibitions of brightly coloured lanterns are displayed in prominent public places and at Taoist temples. With Yuen Siu, the New Year celebrations come to an end, and Hong Kong embarks on another busy year full of traditional celebrations, sporting events, art shows, festivals, business and excitement!
For further information about the “Cathay Pacific International Chinese New Year Carnival”, please refer to DiscoverHongKong.com/ChineseNewYear.
Source: Hong Kong Tourism Board Canada