Festivals in Hong Kong

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Hong Kong is the home to many different festivals each with their own personality and all with their own beautiful traditions.  There are festivals all through the year which makes for some wonderful celebrations. 

Chinese New Year

The biggest festival of the year starts at the beginning.  Chinese New Year shuts down Hong Kong for about three days.  It is a celebration marked with feasting, fireworks, and parades.  It starts in February and although the major celebration is only three days many celebrate it for an entire 15.  Legend has it that ancestors who settled on the Yellow River were attached by a monster night that destroyed homes.  Nien, the monster, was afraid of noise, light and the color red and therefore noisemakers and drums are heard all over town, homes and businesses are well lit, and most people wear red.  Today this is a thanksgiving celebration and many wishes for luck and prosperity are rendered. 

Ching Ming

Ching Ming is a memorial type festival where ancestors are given honor.  Families visit the graves and clean them up and leave offerings. Incense burns in all the cemeteries and food is left for ancestors.  This usually takes place in April. 

Tin Hau Festival

Fishermen are honored in late April or May at the Tin Hau Festival.   Tin Hau, Goddess of the Sea, is believed to protect fishermen and boats are decorated with streamers and float to the Tin Hau temples where fishermen then ask for luck for the year. This is quite a site because it isn’t just a few humble boats that participate but hundreds clog the waterways of the city. 

Cheung Chau Festival

In May the Cheung Chau Festival commences and is a time for fun and frolic.  Originally the festival’s purpose was to frighten away evil spirits.  The festival is on the island of Cheung Chau and a 60 foot tower of plastic buns is erected.  Men try to climb this tower of buns and pull off more than the other guy can.  It can be quite exhilarating and sometimes dangerous.  Because of a disastrous collapse in 1978 the climb is restricted to only 12 people now with harnesses, yet it is still fun to cheer on your favorite bun puller. 

Dragon Boat Festival

The Dragon Boat Festival in June is a sight to behold.  Here ornate boats manned by a team of eight oarsmen battle in fierce competition for three days. There is intense cheering on of the favorite team to rival Superbowl Sunday in America. 

Mid-Autumn Festival

The Mid-Autumn Festival in September celebrates when the Chinese overthrew the Mongolian overlords. Lanterns are strung all over the city and dragon dances commence in the streets.   A favorite delicacy during this festival is the mooncake which is pastry encrusted two salted duck eggs.  This is the second biggest festival in Hong Kong.

Cheung Yeung Festival

The Cheung Yeung Festival or hiking holiday comes in October and is based on a folk tale about a man saved from death by being told to move to higher ground.  Locals hike up into the hills and offer burnt offerings.

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