2. Celebrate Chinese New Year (in China)
This title could provoke some commentary in itself… I guess I shouldn’t restrict it to celebrations in China, because the celebrations extend to other parts in Asia. Moreover, I live in Hong Kong SAR – and even though HK was returned to China, the PRC influence and dominance is still somewhat rejected.
Enough with the political and geographical aspects and back to the reason for this post!
Although I have experienced CNY celebrations in Sydney and Melbourne, these celebrations are rather tame in comparison to the displays in HK.
Currently, 3 day new year lunar festival – today is the first day of the year of the dragon – and from what I can see from my window – the city is dead. everyone goes to the temple and receives lei see’s from their elders – red pockets full of money. My friends say it is their prime income for the year as their chinese relos and all ppl who are senior (including in the work place) give out red pockets. This is one tradition i havent yet been lucky to participate in – although a Chinese friend did say i can go collect from his parents. Hard to reconcile with western thinking though.
For the last 3 days leading up to new year, ppl attend special flower markets and fill their houses with cherry blossom, red flowers and particularly, with the most peculiar orange fruit branches. Tonight they will hold a dragon parade – I will be going with some international kids but some of my local friends say they have never been because they have so many family commitments. Super Chinese families today will also hold a tea ceremony. Tomorrow night – the 2nd lunar day, there will be a firework extravaganza over Victoria Harbour. The 3rd day, I will go to the Chinese New year races in Sha tin – not an old school tradition more of a modern activity, but I have been told that if I win money at that particular race day i will be prosperous for the remainder of the year. im then going to a bbq – i must admit i got pretty excited at the idea of a snag… however, after sharing this excitement my chinese friends corrected me – chinese bbq is different to the aussie kind :S
The city is decked out in red and gold decorations and the attitude of the people has really changed- everyone is polite and they almost look joyful. lol even my washing lady was warm and wished me a happy new year.
I was fortunate to win some chinese new year turnip and taro cakes from the Sky Marriot. I had some ppl over on the Saturday night before the holidays and we got to share it… calling it cake is misleading though… because it has to be fried with egg. So that is what i did – real house wives of hong kong, here I come!
That basically sums up what ive been doing/how I am celebrating the end of the year of the rabbit and start of the year of the dragon.
I am so happy I decided to stay and enjoy the holiday period in HK – such an enlightening experience. I would definitely recommend timing travels with CNY. The atmosphere in a city like HK is so different at this time of year.