The Chinese New Year is a celebration famous all around the world and not only in Chinese communities. Parades with huge paper dragons, the most spectacular fireworks and of course, fine Chinese traditional cuisine — there are plenty of reasons why the Chinese New Year celebrations are a memorable event for the whole family.
Locals, expats, and tourists alike look forward every year to the Chinese New Year holiday in Hong Kong. It’s a massive 3-day celebration that the local authorities plan months in advance, made of several different events that everyone can enjoy.
In this article, you’ll learn how to celebrate Chinese New Year in Hong Kong as a tourist and find useful information including:
- Dates and animal of Hong Kong New Year 2020
- What are the New Year traditions in Hong Kong
Do People from Hong Kong Celebrate Chinese New Year?
Yes, not only the Chinese New Year in Hong Kong is the biggest annual celebration in the city but it also attracts thousands of visitors from abroad. In 2018, 250,000 visitors arrived in the city within the first 2 days of celebrations and many specifically applied for a Hong Kong visa for this occasion. And the numbers have been consistently growing.
Although this means that tourists should be aware of great crowds that may cause occasional congested queues at airports and bus stations, there’s a reason why so many people flock to Hong Kong for the Chinese New Year.
What Is the Animal for Chinese New Year 2020?
As you may already know, the Chinese zodiac is made of a series of animals. Depending on the year you’re born in, you will be assigned an animal (the ‘lucky’ animal of that year) which can be roughly compared to your Western zodiac sign. 2020 will be the year of the rat according to the Chinese zodiac.
When Is the Chinese New Year 2020?
Unlike its Western counterpart, the Chinese New Year (also called Spring Festival) doesn’t start on January 1st. In fact, the exact date of the Chinese New Year changes every year. That’s because just like most other major Chinese festivities (the Lantern Festival, the Dragon Boat Festival, and the Mid-Autumn Festival, for example) the Chinese New Year depends on the lunar calendar.
In Hong Kong, the national holiday usually runs from the first to the third day of the lunar month. In 2020, the Chinese New Year festivities will start on Saturday, January 25th. Due to the popularity of the event, it’s advisable to make your travel plans in advance, whether you plan to fly to Hong Kong or take a fast train. This may include having to obtain a PAR authorization for your whole family.
Chinese New Year Traditions in Hong Kong
The Spring Festival celebrations in Hong Kong are a mix of ancient traditions and modern customs. The 3-day festivities are made of several different events, the main and most famous of which are:
- The New Year Night parade
- The Victoria Harbor fireworks
- The horse racing
Where Is the Chinese New Year Parade in Hong Kong?
Imagine spectacular floats, talented acrobats, colorful animal costumes, dances, and firecrackers. Welcome to one of the world’s most famous parades. Performances start at 6 pm from around Nathan Road and then proceed through Salisbury Road, Canton Road, and Haiphong Road.
Again, this is a popular and crowded public event. Make sure to arrive early to secure a good spot.
What Time Are the Hong Kong Fireworks?
You won’t find such a firework show in Hong Kong on any other day of the year. On the second day of the Spring Festival, the Hong Kong population gathers on either side of Victoria Harbor (usually, in Tsim Sha Tsui or Central and Wan Chai) to admire the firework display. Many also decide to make it a special night and rent a boat seat or book a harbor-view restaurant table.
The Hong Kong Firework Celebration show lasts 23 minutes and starts at 9 pm.
What Is the Sha Tin Racecourse Entry Fee?
Horse racing is the most popular sport in Hong Kong. And you can imagine how many people want to see its biggest event, the Sha Tin Racecourse on Chinese New Year Race Day.
As many as 100,000 spectators book their seats well in advance for this annual event. The main race is the Chinese New Year Cup but it’s not all about horses: expect dance performances and raffles with prizes of up to HK$290,000.
The New Year Racecourse admission fee is very affordable — only HK$10. Foreigners carrying their passport for checks can get access to the Members Enclosure for HK$130.