Chinese New Year in Hong Kong is a celebration like no other. With 15-days packed full of age-old traditions, cultural festivities and family celebrations, Chinese New Year is the largest and one of the most beloved festivals of the lunar calendar. This 2016 it will be on Monday, 8 February, Year of the Monkey
Indeed, Hong Kong's Chinese New Year celebration was recently listed by Forbes as one of the world's 10 best festival extravaganzas in the world, alongside famous holiday celebrations such as Germany's Oktoberfest and Brazil's Carnival.
Excitement builds up from the first day of the new year right up until the Spring Lantern Festival. During these two weeks, locals flock to aromatic temples to play for good fortune, dip in scrumptious meals, squeeze into festival flower markets and string up shock-red lanterns.
But what makes Hong Kong's Chinese New Year so special? First of all, a bit International Chinese New Year's Parade in the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui brings the city to life while locals cheer like their voices run out; an impressive fireworks display over Victoria Harbor takes spectators breath away; the Chinese New Year horse races where people try their luck and bet for a good year; and the “world's largest sound and light display” every day.
Lonely Planet also listed the Hong Kong Chinese New Year festival as one of the top of events in the world. And there's an added value, because while you are enjoying the festivities, you can also shop in one of the world's favourite cities for malls, luxury goods, and available bargains.
The holiday kicks off with the Parade on New Year's Day, which goes by some Hong Kong highlights such as the Avenue of Stars, Kowloon Park, and the Golden Mile of Nathan Road. Spectators will be able to admire ingenious floats such as the character Jack from Tim Burton's film The Nightmare before Christmas.
Numerous floats continue down the streets with performing groups and bands, out of which 20 groups will be from around the world. Before the parade, many entertainers will cheer the festival-goers along the parade route, which includes historic Nathan Road, Salisbury Road, Canron Road and Haiphong Road.
On the second day of the celebration, dancing choreographed pyrotechnics fire up Victoria Harbour. In the meantime, the daily record-setting Symphony of Lights jazz up the city with colourful building lights and laser light show.
Thousands of excited fans flock to Sha Tin Racecourse on the third day of the celebrations to bet on the most popular races of all - the Chinese New Year horse races. This event has always been Hong Kong's most popular horse racing event. On this day, a nonprofit charity group named the Jockey Club features a full program of traditional and colourful festivities.
Before the races, there is a grand opening show that features a lion dance and a medley of cultural performances and entertainment. Among the entertainers, Jockeys will cheer the fans with messages for good luck, until the race begins - the featured race of the day is the Chinese New Year Cup.