Chinese New Year is the most significant celebration on Hong Kong’s calendar. So it’s no surprise there are plenty of things to do to mark the Lunar New Year. This year is the Year of the Rat, with the holidays beginning a little earlier than usual. The Rat marks the beginning of the Chinese zodiac cycle (which has 12 signs). For 2020, the holidays start on 25 January and end on 28 January. Here are some of the key events and activities you can take part in.
*this event has been cancelled Four-day Chinese New Year Carnival
This year, Hong Kong will be treated to a new format for public celebrations. In previous years, the signature Chinese New Year parade was a single parade held on the first day of the holiday. This year, it’s been given a boost and turned into the Four-day Cathay Pacific International Chinese New Year Carnival. The Carnival activities are free and will be held at Art Park in the West Kowloon Cultural District. There are three elements to this four-day event – the Chinese New Year parade (happening daily this year), themed photo spots, and a Chinese New Year food market with Michelin-recommended eats.
*this event has been cancelled Daily Chinese New Year Parade
The famous night parade becomes a daily event this year. The daily parade will feature 26 international performing troupes who will not only perform in the parade each day, they will also take to the stage at Art Park for additional performances from day to night. This year, 22 of the performing acts are brand new to Hong Kong. This means it’s a great show even if you’ve been to the parade in previous years. You’ll see acts like India’s V. Unbeatable, which you’ll recognise if you watch America’s Got Talent. They perform a series of hair-raising flips. Click here to see the times and details of the parade.
Chinese New Year Race Day
Head over to Sha Tin for an extra special race day as the whole of Hong Kong celebrates the Year of the Rat. The most popular race day of them all will provide a full programme of traditional and colourful festivities on-course, including entertainment performances, a lucky draw, and jockeys greeting fans with good luck messages. The action is at Sha Tin Racecourse on 27 January.
The annual flower markets are part of Chinese New Year celebrations. Each year, parks and playgrounds across Hong Kong are packed with stallholders. They sell orchids, cherry blossoms, daffodils and other festive blooms. Use these to decorate your home, it’s one of the key new year customs. Key parks are Victoria Park in Causeway Bay and Fa Hui Park in Sham Shui Po. The markets are free and open from 8am to midnight, 19 to 21 January and 24 January; 8am to 3am on the following day, 22 – 23 January; Midnight to 8am, 25 January.
Over the Chinese New Year holiday, you’ll get the chance to watch a lion dance. They happen in most communities and at many businesses over the two week CNY period. Skilled lion dance troupes perform with a cacophony of drums and firecrackers. These are to scare away the bad spirits of the past year. Pacific Place will be hosting it’s annual eye-dotting ceremony and lion dance performance on 31 January 2020. This will happen in the Garden Court at 1pm and work around the shopping centre.
Chinese New Year Displays
Just like at Christmas time, buildings, shopping centres, hotels and public areas all over the city get in the spirit of Chinese New Year. You won’t be able to turn a corner without seeing a festive rat or a golden display ushering in the new year. There’s a lot for kids and Instagrammers to play with. Head to all the usual suspects – Lee Tung Ave in Wanchai, IFC, Pacific Place, Harbour City at TST, Cityplaza, Times Square, and more.
Fashion Walk in Causeway Bay has a Disney-themed display that kids might enjoy. Citygate Outlet at Tung Chung has an interactive experience and will host a Lion Dance on the afternoon of the 29th January. The Peak will also have a Lion Dance performance on the 5th day of the Lunar New Year (29 January 2020) from 11:30 a.m to 12:30 p.m. Catch The Peak Tram up in the morning and go for a CNY walk around The Peak (don’t forget there’s discount tickets on hkison.com).
The festival attracts hundreds of thousands of locals and visitors from all over the world to Lam Tsuen every year. Experience the traditions of throwing placards onto the wishing tree and lighting wishing lanterns. Daily at Lam Tsuen Wishing Square, Lam Tsuen, Tai Po.
Learn About Traditional Crafts
You’ve been mesmerised by a lion dance, now get to understand the traditional craft behind creating that amazing art. Crafts on Peel is well worth a visit over CNY. It’s an important space that is preserving traditional Hong Kong crafts and designing new products that bring age-old craftsmanship into a new era. At this gallery space, young Hong Kong artists are paired with Master Craftsmen, to create new and functional pieces that bring new and old together. It’s an interesting and important initiative we should all be supporting.
Enjoy The Great Outdoors
Chinese New Year is also about spending time with family, or friends that are like family. There’s no better time of year to get out and active on one of the city’s beautiful hikes. Try some of our favourite hikes here.
Read: Your favourite hikes
Don’t forget, this holiday is all about coming together with friends and family. If you’d like to celebrate over a special meal, see our Chinese New Year Dining Guide for some inspiration.
Want to know more about Chinese New Year customs and traditions?