- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Hong Kong Guide (PDF)
There is always something going on in Hong Kong and expats who move to the Fragrant Harbour will be able to 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, and there's no better way to see this in action than watching a magnificent display of fireworks explode and shower down on Hong Kong's glistening skyscrapers.
Annual events in Hong Kong
Chinese New Year (January/February)
Hong Kong certainly 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 are sure to enjoy the vibey atmosphere in the stands where the music and beer keep the energy in the crowd alive.
Tin Hau Festival (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 enjoy colourful boat processions and feast on some delicious traditional fare.
Cheung Chau Bun Festival (April/May)
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. At the centre of the festivities is the traditional bun-snatching competition, 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 amid 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 or fly kites for good luck.
►Find out about the city's shopping and nightlife on our Lifestyle in Hong Kong page
"Everything is accessible, culturally fantastic. You can go to the Rugby Sevens and see the Bolshoi Ballet on the same weekend. I’ve watched a performance of Korean drummers and seen Blur and OK Go in concert, all in one week. It’s all happening here!" Read more of expat Lindsey's interview.
Are you an expat living in Hong Kong?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Hong Kong. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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