What's On in Hong Kong
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There is always something going on in Hong Kong and expats who move to the Fragrant Harbour will be able to watch and join in on a host of festivities throughout the year.
From traditional Chinese festivals to Western holidays such as Halloween, East and West live side by side in Hong Kong. It is worth noting that most traditional cultural events take place according to the Chinese lunar calendar, but equivalent dates on the Gregorian calendar can be easily found online.
Hong Kong prides itself on blending cultures and bringing traditions into the future – there's no better way to see this in action than watching a magnificent display of fireworks explode and shower colour down on Hong Kong's glistening skyscrapers.
Annual events in Hong Kong
Chinese New Year (January/February)
Hong Kong knows how to usher in the Chinese New Year with a bang. Expats can join in the revelry by hanging decorations on their front doors, and enjoying the street parades and lavish parties. The glittering night parade and the fireworks display finale are not to be missed.
Hong Kong Sevens (March/April)
A must for any expat who comes from a rugby-playing nation, the Hong Kong Sevens is one of the world's premier rugby tournaments. Rugby fanatics should head to the festive South Stand party, where the music and beer keep the energy in the crowd alive.
Tin Hau's Birthday (April/May)
In a celebration of Hong Kong's rich maritime history, crowds of locals flock to temples across the islands to ask the Goddess of the Sea, Tin Hau, for plentiful catches, safety and good weather. The festival is perhaps best witnessed in the region's coastal villages, where attendees can witness colourful boat procession, watch fireworks and indulge in feasts.
Cheung Chau Bun Festival (April/May)
Named one of the quirkiest festivals in the world by Time magazine, the Cheung Chau Bun festival celebrates Pak Tai, a sea god who keeps natural disasters and pirates at bay. Locals celebrate by parading and burning papier-mâché effigies, with a traditional bun-snatching competition being at the centre of festivities, where competitors scramble up bamboo-scaffolded towers to retrieve steamed buns.
Dragon Boat Festival (May/June)
One of the most vibrant occasions in the cultural calendar, the Dragon Boat Festival commemorates the death of Qu Yuan, a national hero who drowned himself to protest against the region's corrupt rulers. To keep fish and evil spirits away from his body, villagers beat drums, used their paddles to splash the water and threw sticky rice into the river. Today, his memory is celebrated by the famous dragon boat race, which symbolises the search for his body, and eating zongzi – sticky rice dumplings wrapped in bamboo or reed leaves.
Mid-Autumn Festival (September/October)
A harvest festival celebrated across China and Vietnam, the Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the most important celebrations of Chinese cultural heritage. Over the course of a week, people give delicious mooncakes as gifts to friends, watch the moon amidst hundreds of glowing lanterns, and take part in extravagant dragon and lion dances.
Chung Yeung Festival (October)
During this festival, families in Hong Kong go to clean their ancestral graves and give offerings of food to the spirits of their ancestors. This is often followed by family picnics in the outdoors, while many people hike to the highest points around the city for good luck.