In both Hong Kong and Macau, a major tradition for Chinese New Year’s Day is giving flowers, potted plants, and bouquets as gifts. A lot of significance is attached to this custom, and the various kinds of flowers given as gifts denote different wishes or signs. The residents of the two cities like and can afford very fresh flowers, so there are huge crowds buying flowers at the flower markets and flower shops in the major holiday flower markets.
In Hong Kong on Chinese New Year's Eve, the crowds are especially heavy. In the afternoon after work, people start shopping and buying gifts. People have their New Year’s Eve family reunion dinner, and then they go out and scramble to be able to present the freshest flowers on New Years Day to the various important people in their lives. They also buy other gifts such as candy or special foods. The scramble can get intense.
Though some people in mainland China, especially those Cantonese who live in Guangdong Province, give gifts of flowers on New Years Day, giving flowers isn’t as important a custom there as in these two cities. It is thought that gifts of fresh flowers and plants give good luck. So it is a part of how Hong Kong and Macau people celebrate their holidays.
Along with the desire to present very fresh flowers, another reason for the scramble of the crowds on New Years Eve is the tradition that stores close on New Year's Day and for a while afterwards. The first three days of the Chinese New Year are legal holidays in Hong Kong. The weight of tradition dictates that shops and businesses close and that everyone focus on family matters, reunions, important relationships, and religious matters at the temples and house shrines.
Flower shops and stalls will sometimes stay open late and even to early morning hours on New Year's Day, but the shops should be closed when the sun rises. So the shop owners may also be frantic about selling their stock of flowers and potted plants before dawn.
There are lots of stalls or shops at Victoria Park on Hong Kong Island and the Mong Kok Flower Market in Kowloon. The Mong Kok Flower market is permanent. About 100 shops are there.
Victoria Park: 1 Hing Fat Street. Take Exit E from the Causeway Bay Station.
Mong Kok Flower Market: Take Exit C from Mong Kok East Station.
Read more on Chinese New Year Celebrations in Hong Kong in 2015 — it is one of the top 10 festivals in the world according to Forbes.
In Macau, the people celebrate their holidays even more fervently than the Hong Kong people. The flower markets are popular places to go for the holidays.
Tap Seac Square: The main traditional Chinese New Year flower market is at Tap Seac Square. It opens in the morning on New Year's Eve, but it is best visited in the afternoon and evening, and it stays open late. It is a popular place to visit during the holidays.
It is Macau's biggest public square, and it is highly decorated and special events are put on each year. There are lion and dragon dances and booths for food, beverages and gifts.
Fisherman's Wharf: There is a casino and resort and theme park located next to the Macau Ferry Terminal. It is only a few minutes walk away from the terminal. The flower market there is smaller.
The flower giving traditions are much the same in Hong Kong and Macau. Some flowers and plants hold a special significance when given as gifts on Chinese New Year. In Hong Kong and Macau, kumquat plants are a recommended gift. Kumquats are a small orange citrus fruit. They are like small tangerines. Kumquats are particularly popular since in Cantonese "kum" means gold. So you are wishing the recipient a financially prosperous year.
China Highlights can help you customize a tour to celebrate the Chinese New Year as local Chinese do. Create your own dream trip. We have more information on things to do and weather in January in Hong Kong and for Macau in January.
Since demand for tickets and transportation is so high, get your tickets as early as possible beforehand since people snap up the available transportation for these dates. Demand is very high for international flight tickets, train tickets, and even for tickets for China's new bullet trains.
We could help you arrange your Hong Kong hotel rooms, Hong Kong flights, and China train tickets for a great trip. We could provide guides, drivers, and private vehicles for private tours for individuals and groups.
Tour Hong Kong and Macau During Chinese New Year: Tour both Macau and Hong Kong for shopping and sightseeing during the big festival on this two day tour.