Spring, summer, autumn or winter – no matter which time of the year you’re visiting, you’re guaranteed to be enthralled by one of Hong Kong’s many vibrant festivities: ancient Chinese cultural celebrations and international sporting events with the world’s finest athletes; summer activities spread all across the city and a winter wonderland of Christmas spirit followed by New Year’s fireworks. Follow this roundup of the top happenings in Hong Kong and join in the fun.
Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year is a highlight of the Hong Kong calendar. Symbolising prosperity and unity, while invoking good fortune for the year ahead, the spring festival is cherished and celebrated by locals across the city as they exchange blessings and good wishes. You’re in for a treat if your visit falls over Chinese New Year, as the entire city gets taken over by a festive energy. Watch lion dances on busy streets, shop for auspicious foods at stores decked out in red and pray for good fortune at incense-filled temples. It all leads up to a wonderful parade of floats and performances, before a stunning fireworks display across the harbour.
Hong Kong Arts Month takes place every March, this 31-day journey sees local and overseas artists converging to bring about inspiring programmes across the city. Get cultured and enjoy an array of different events during Arts Month. Catch a live performance during the Arts Festival, with international names flocking to the city to showcase their talents. Head down to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre and see the renowned Art Basel, where the world’s greatest artists showcase their worlds. Or take part in the many other smaller events that make up the creative month.
Whatever the time of the year, you’ll be able to see a slice of sporting glory. Spring sees the height of the season, kicking off with the Hong Kong Marathon followed by the thrilling Rugby Sevens. Here during summer or autumn? Catch the indoor Volleyball Open and Squash Open. An autumn is the ideal time to take part in the city’s historic Harbour Race.
Hong Kong Cultural Celebrations
Celebrate Hong Kong’s diverse culture and enjoy traditional festive activities during the city’s Cultural Celebrations. Spring time visitors are treated to four major local festivities in a row: see locals scrambling up a tower of buns at the Cheung Chau Bun Festivals, or catch the many lion dances during Tin Hau’s birthday. Journey to the Big Buddha on the deity’s birthday, or pray for good fortune during Tam Kung’s celebration.
Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival
Taking place on the 5th day of the 5th Lunar month, normally in May or June in our calendar, this event goes as far back as the 3rd century and is most well-known for its energetic and colorful dragon boat races, where teams of paddlers race the long narrow boats accompanied by the beat of the drum down to the finish line. Watch athletes from around the world battle it out in an ancient Chinese sport and take part in the city-wide festivities during the summer’s Dragon Boat Carnival. Get caught up in the action as the world’s rowers clash against the backdrop of the skyline. And take a break from it all at BeerFest, where fans enjoy live performances and a tipple or two, and relax against the harbour.
Hong Kong Summer Fun
True to its name, the Hong Kong Summer Fun “Shop.Eat.Play” (HKSF) campaign delighted even the most discerning visitors with all the amazing surprises one could ask for in a holiday. Visitors were treated to a range of attractive packages, lucky draws and citywide rewards. Beat the heat and join in with an array of exciting activities, with Hong Kong Summer Fun. From musicals to food festivals, major sporting events to computer expos, there’s something for every visitor.
Hungry Ghost Festival
According to traditional Chinese belief, the seventh month in the lunar calendar is when restless spirits roam the earth and the living celebrate Yu Lan or the Hungry Ghost Festival. While the festival’s origins are not unlike those of Halloween in Europe, it is also intrinsically linked to the Chinese practise of ancestor worship. A celebration of the culture, the Hong Kong Chiu Chow Community’s Yu Lan Ghost Festival is on China’s national list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. For visitor, it’s a perfect opportunity to see some of the city’s living culture in action. There will also be Chinese opera performances around town, usually held on temporary bamboo stages, to praise the charitable and pious deeds of the deities.
As the round shape symbolises unity in Chinese culture, the full moon marks the perfect time for families to get together, which is how Mid-Autumn Festival has been celebrated since the early Tang dynasty (618–907). To many, this is considered to be one of the most important festivals of the year. Highly urbanised Hong Kong still celebrates this holiday and does so in style, with a vast variety of mooncakes made with everything from salted egg yolk to ice cream. For those looking for a visual extravaganza, head to Tai Hang for the spectacular fire dragon dance, and keep an eye out for lantern displays around the city.
Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival
Eat, drink and be merry at Hong Kong’s annual Wine & Dine Festival, usually takes place towards the end of the year. A month-long culinary event set across the city, you can indulge in testing events, wine tours and other gastronomic delights. The highlight is the weekend outdoor fest: head down to the harbour front, grab a glass of wine, snack on fine treats and take in the sights, sounds and flavors of the vibrant city.
Throw on a costume and hit Hong Kong’s haunting streets as the city celebrates Halloween. For a classical local approach to the festival, visit one of the city’s theme parks, where you’ll find Chinese ghost-story attractions. Or, head down to a bar district such as Lan Kwai Fong, and join thousands of costumed fans as they find the lighter side to the dark night.
Hong Kong Winterfest
Celebrate Christmas in style and experience New Year’s like never before during Hong Kong Winterfest. Take in the yuletide spirit with festive foods, seasonal celebrations and other delights. And when New Year’s Eve rolls around, you can count down the seconds with the crowds at Times Square, before an unprecedented fireworks display lights up the harbour. Enjoy ‘A Symphony of Lights’, which illuminates the skyline every evening.
Source: Copyright from Discover Hong Kong A Traveller’s Guide, Hong Kong Tourism Board.
Information subject to change without prior notice. Hong Kong Tourism Board disclaims any liability for the quality or fitness for the purpose of third-party products or services; or for any errors or omissions.