The Chinese New Year (CNY) 2015 is approaching. Hong Kong (and whole China) is getting ready to celebrate the arrival of the “Year of the Goat/Sheep”.
Chinese New Year Holiday in Hong Kong
Similar to Western’s Christmas, Chinese New Year is one of the most important holidays for all the Chinese. No matter how busy you were in the past year, everyone is trying to go home and spend this holiday season with the family.
Hong Kong celebrates this traditional holiday with her special touch of cosmopolitan modern flair, combined with typical Chinese traditions. Festivities and events are spread out over three weeks and offer opportunities to party, celebrate and participates in very unique traditions.
Besides joining the traditional events and activities, don’t miss the chance to taste some auspicious and lucky foods (e.g. steamed sticky cake, sweet glutinous rice balls (tang yuan), vegetable with ham or dried oysters). Or simply visit a fortune teller for good fortune in one of the many temples to wish for the better luck in the new year.
When is 2015 Chinese New Year celebrations ?
For 2015, Chinese New Year is on the February 19th (the first day of Chinese Lunar Calendar). From February 13th to March 5th, 2015, Hong Kong will celebrate and welcome the “Year of the Sheep / Goat” with several big events and activities.
Similar to the previous years, there will be the colorful Flower Markets, dazzling world-class Chinese New Year Parade, Lunar New Year Fireworks, Lion Dances, celebrations in temples as well as the famous Chinese New Year Horseracing spectacle).
Here we list the most popular, colorful and impressive events. Are you anxious to experience and celebrate 21 days packed with age-old traditions, cultural festivities and events?
The Hong Kong Lunar New Year Flower Markets usually kick-off the festive Chinese New Year season and festivities. Stroll through the beautiful and colorful Flower Markets throughout Hong Kong and join the locals to search for the perfect bloom.
Narcissus, peach blossoms, orchids, citrus plants or kumquat trees (golden orange trees) are believed to bring good luck, wealth and prosperity for the upcoming New Year and if you pay close attention you will notice that almost every shopping mall, restaurant and shop are beautiful decorated with these kind of flowers.
Similar to Christmas markets in Germany, Austria or Swiss, these Chinese New Year Flower Markets open up the holiday season and bring the festive spirit with their colorful and aromatic displays of flowers. They are also the great places to dive into local customs, enjoy some of the food treats on the flower markets, or pick up one of the unique Sheep Year related souvenirs.
Opening Hours & Admission :
Hong Kong has several venues of Chinese New Year Flower Markets. They usually open from 10:00am till late at night (such as 1:00am) depending which market or which day you visit. Please note that on Chinese New Year Eve and Chinese New Year some flower markets might open earlier and/or have extended hours (some even till 4:00am).
The admission to the Lunar New Year Flower Markets is free of charge.
How to Get There :
The biggest and most popular Flower Markets are located in Victoria Park (Causeway Bay, Hong Kong Island) and Fa Hui Park (Mongkok, Kowloon). However, they are not the only ones.
Throughout Hong Kong, there are several smaller ones which are off the beaten tourist tracks, but may be still worthwhile to visit, especially if you would like get in touch with locals. Some are located close to major sightseeing or shopping attractions and can easily be incorporated in a normal tour itinerary.
- Kowloon Area :
Cheung Sha Wan Playground (Sham Shui Po)
Morse Park (Wong Tai Sin)
Hong Ning Road Recreation Ground (Kwun Tong)
Man Yee Playground (Sai Kung)
Po Hong Park (Tseung Kwan O)
- New Territories :
Kwai Chung Sports Ground (Kwai Tsing)
Tung Tau Industrial Area Playground (Yuen Long)
Sha Tsui Road Playground (Tsuen Wan)
Shek Wu Hui Playground (North District)
Shek Pai Tau Playground (Tuen Mun)
Tin Hau Temple Fung Shui Square (Tai Po)
Yuen Wo Playground (Sha Tin)
Secrets for You
Be prepared for a massive crowd of people no matter which time slot you choose. The best time to visit is either in the early morning hours or early afternoon/evening hours (4:00 – 6:00pm). If you want to mingle with the crowds and would like to grasp the romantic Lunar New Year Flower Markets at night then you might want to visit around 6:00 – 9:00pm.
Chinese New Year in Hong Kong is a great time to experience seasonal traditions and rituals. Locals love to prepare and eat ‘lucky food’ or flock into temples to give thanks for the past 12 months and pray for good fortune for the New Year.
Visitors have a great opportunity to experience and engage into different cultural activities. Simply visit e.g. the Che Kung Temple to spin the Fortune Wheel for some good luck, make a wish at the Wishing Tree in Lam Tsuen, shake out a fortune stick for a New Year Prediction at the Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple or simple burn some incense in one of the many temples in Hong Kong.
In case you are pressed for time and don’t want to travel to far, we highly recommend taking a closer look at the Man Mo Temple on Hong Kong Island or the Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple on the Kowloon side to experience some local Chinese New Year customs, rituals and traditions.
Like any event during the Chinese New Year period, be prepared that it will be very crowded. Admission to the temples are free of charge, but we recommend to give a small donation to maintain the beautiful temples and art works.
How to Get There :
One of the highlights of Chinese New Year Celebration is the world-famous Cathay Pacific International Chinese New Year Night Parade. Sponsored by Hong Kong based Cathay Pacific Airlines for the 17th consecutive year, the 20th Chinese New Year Night (2015) Parade will enchant young and old.
Every year, there are tens of thousands of fans to witness and experience this dazzling Hong Kong parade.
This year’s CNY Parade theme is “Sweet 20! World Party!”. About 36 beautiful decorated and colorful floats will wind its way through the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui (Kowloon) and along the Victoria Harbour front.
Be assured that this area along the planned concourse will transform into a giant party. Last year’s parade saw over 150,000 people transforming the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui in a gigantic New Year’s Party.
Aside from the beautiful decorated floats, you are able to watch and enjoy a whole bunch of international performers including marching bands, local dragon and lion dance teams, cheerleading groups, cultural dance performances and costumed cartoon characters and “cosplayers” giving out souvenirs.
The parade will start right in front of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza (Tsim Sha Tsui). Then the parade will proceed to move along Canton Road, Haiphong Road and turn back along the famous Nathan Road to end in front of the Sheraton Hotel Hong Kong in the Salisbury Road.
Admission & Ticketing :
Viewing along the parade route is free of charge. However, if you would like to sit right in front of the spectacle in the spectator stands at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza you have to purchase tickets. Tickets are available on a first come first basis ranging between HK$ 300 – 480 at the Hong Kong Tourism Board Visitor Center at the Star Ferry Concourse in Tsim Sha Tsui (open daily from 8:00am-8:00pm). Ticket sales will start from February 7th, 2015 onwards.
The Cathay Pacific International Chinese New Year Night Parade 2015 will last from 8:00pm – 9:45pm on February 19th, 2015 (the first day of the Lunar New Year). Starting from 6:00pm, there will be several performers and games to warm-up the crowds along the parade route. Spectator stands at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza will open at 7:00pm (for all of you purchased tickets for the parade).
Secrets for You
“In case you would like to enjoy the parade, make sure to arrive way ahead (!) of the scheduled parade time. There are several special traffic arrangements due to the special events and usually, roads will be closed at least 2 hours before and after (!) the event. Make sure to calculate enough time to arrive early at the venue and prepare that it will get very crowded.”
“For all of you who won’t make it in time to get along the parade route, the 2015 parade will also be televised in National TV.
For everyone who might have missed the parade and would like to get a closer look at the beautiful floats to take some pictures, there are several opportunities. The floats will be on display at various locations around Hong Kong from February 20 – March 1, 2015. At night, the floats will be illuminated and are a great photo opportunity. In addition, there will be special performances of some of the parade’s colorful groups on February 20 and 21, 2015.”
Another highlight of Chinese New Celebrations in Hong Kong is the Lunar New Year Fireworks Display 2015. Be assured that thousands of people will watch and enjoy the stunning fireworks display along Victoria Harbour to welcome and celebrate the Year of the Goat.
This year’s Chinese New Year’s Firework will start at 8:00pm on February 20, 2015 (the second day of the Lunar New Year). The 2015 edition of the Lunar New Year Fireworks Display is sponsored by Lee & Man Paper Manufacturing.
Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong’s sky will be illuminated for 23 minutes with the splendid fireworks.
Secrets for You
“Hong Kong’s firework show is very massive and you will have chance to watch to show in a close distance. We have talked a lot about best places to watch and enjoy the fireworks show in the past. Check it out and reserve a place as early as possible.”
“Special traffic arrangements are in effect before and after the Chinese New Year’s Firework Show. This includes closure (!) of roads and MTR Exits. Be prepared for a very large crowd and we highly recommend to plan your arrival way ahead of the schedule fireworks time.
“If you want to find a spot to shot better photos along Victoria Harbour be sure to be there before 5:00pm.”
Chinese New Year is the most important traditional festival of the year. One of the wonderful and fascinating things about celebrating this festival in Hong Kong is the opportunity to participate and enjoy in the unique event of horse racing as a tradition.
Is there any better way to kick-off the New Year with some betting and hoping for prosperity and wealth than at the world-famous horseracing event in the “Year of the Sheep”?
Race Date & Race Programme :
On the third day of Chinese New Year (February 21, 2015), Hong Kong holds the Chinese New Year Race Day at the Sha Tin Racecourse (New Territories). Being one of the most popular horse racing events of the year, the Chinese New Year Race Day 2015 will feature a full program of traditional and colorful festivities including a grand opening show, lion dance performances, a variety of cultural and entertainment performances and of course horse races.
You may have a chance to spot one of the famous jockeys or pick-up one of the limited edition items and souvenirs at the Chinese New Year Merchandise Bazaar (e.g. last year was four special designed “Year of the Horse” Octopus cards designed by famous painter Xu Beihong).
The Sha Tin Racecourse opens its gate around noon and last until 6:00pm. The first actual horse race starts around 12:30pm at the Chinese New Year Race Day. Please read our related article for more information about horse racing in Hong Kong. If you would like to get a free entrance gift, be sure to be there before the 5th race.
Admission & Ticketing :
– Entrance fee at the Sha Tin Racecourse venue is HK$ 10. Foreign visitors showing their valid travel documents can enjoy free admission.
– Foreign visitors can experience a one-of-kind horseracing experience within the Members’ Enclosure of the Hong Kong Jockey Club by purchasing the special Tourist Badge Option for HK$ 130 (The tourist promotion applies only to tourist).
(Note: In case you would like to enjoy this exclusive Hong Kong Jockey Club Members experience make sure to take your valid passport with you)
– Each visitor will receive a special Chinese New Year (CNY) gift when entering the racecourse before the 5th race (while supply last).
Parts of the Chinese New Year Celebration are the Lunar New Year Lantern Carnivals. Foreign visitors have a unique chance to experience some traditional Chinese culture and traditions during the Chinese New Year.
The 2015 Lunar New Year Lantern Carnivals features spectacular lantern displays as well as various performances including classical songs, dances and traditional stage arts. Furthermore, visitors can enjoy popular and traditional Chinese New Year activities such as nostalgic games, palm-reading and lantern riddle games at the 2015 Lunar New Year Lantern Carnivals.
There were several Lunar New Year Lantern Carnivals throughout Hong Kong in 2014 (probably will be in 2015 as well) :
- Lunar New Year Lantern Display
Venue: Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza
- Urban Lunar New Year Lantern Carnival 2015
Venue: Hong Kong Cultural Centre
- New Territories East Lunar New Year Lantern Carnival 2015
Venue: Tseung Kwan O Po Chui Park
- New Territories West Lunar New Year Lantern Carnival 2015
Venue: Tin Shui Wai Park
The admission to the Lunar New Year Lantern Carnivals are free of charge.
One of Hong Kong’s most popular attractions is the Symphony of Lights Show taking place every night in Victoria Harbour. Last year, Hong Kong added a new spectacular 3D light show with stunning audiovisual effects called Hong Kong Pulse 3D Light Show which took place during Hong Kong’s Wine & Dine Festival as well as during the WinterFest 2014.
The Hong Kong Pulse 3D Light Show will also take place during the 2015 Chinese New Year celebrations from February 14 to March 5, 2015 (except February 19, 2015). Be prepared for some spectacular lights and audio effects. You are able to enjoy this special 3D light and laser shows every night at 8:30pm, 9:00pm, 9:30pm and 10:00pm. Each session takes approx. 15 minutes, is free to watch and is best enjoyed at the TST waterfront promenade right in front of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre.
Here’s a short video to give a concept about how the Hong Kong 3D Light Show is.
Secrets for You
“Be prepared that – no matter which event, activity or show you like to watch, join and/or participate, be prepared and aware that it will be very, very (!) crowded.”