Hong Kong's Chinese New Year celebration was recently listed by Forbes as one of the world's 10 best festival extravaganzas, up there with Germany's Oktoberfest and Brazil's Carnival. The first three days of the Spring Festival is a prime time to tour one of Asia's favorite travel destinations.
What makes it so good? A big International Chinese New Year's Parade in the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui on January 31, 2014, an impressive fireworks display over Victoria Harbor on February 1, 2014, the Chinese New Year horse races on February 2, and the "world’s largest sound and light display" daily.
Lonely Planet also listed the Hong Kong Chinese New Year festival as one of the world's top events. While there, you can shop in one of the world's favorite cities for malls, luxury goods, and finding bargains. The first three days of the new Chinese year, January 31 to February 2, 2014, are optimal for a visit.
Crowds churn the streets and make way for the parade in Tsim Sha Tsui area near Victoria Harbor. It will be the Year of the Horse according to traditional reckoning, and there will probably be horses on parade. It will go by some Hong Kong highlights such as the Avenue of Stars, Kowloon Park, and the Golden Mile of Nathan Road.
Dozens of floats proceed down the streets with dozens of performing groups and bands. There will be about 20 groups from around the world. Before the parade, many entertainers will entertain along the parade route that includes historic Nathan Road, Salisbury Road, Canton Road, and Haiphong Road.
Read more about the International Performance Night and the parade program.
Touring and shopping: Before the parade, you could tour the attractions andshop and dine. Hong Kong's biggest mall, Harbour City, is open along the parade route, as is iSquare that fills a skyscraper by Nathan Road. The Temple Street Market is a place to browse for bargains and snack or have a meal beforehand.
On Day 2 Victoria Harbor is scheduled to roar with a giant fireworks display with dancing choreographed fireworks. It joins in with the daily record-setting Symphony of Lights: colorful building lights and laser light show.
Read more about the Chinese New Year Eve Fireworks, 2014 including locations and transportation.
100,000 excited fans will crowd into Sha Tin Racecourse on the third day of the holidays. The Chinese New Year races are a special event. It has always been Hong Kong's most popular horse racing event. On this unique race day, the Jockey Club (a nonprofit charity group) will feature a full program of traditional and colorful festivities.
There is a grand opening show, a featured lion dance, and a variety of cultural performances and entertainment. Jockeys will cheer the fans with messages for good luck. The featured race of the day is the Chinese New Year Cup.
Chinese people go shopping before and during the Spring Festival, and the huge crowds at shopping malls and markets make it an athletic challenge. People shop for holiday food, decorations, clothes, gifts, and furniture. Portable luxury products are now the star sellers.
Now, with newly opened borders, a new feature to the Hong Kong Chinese New New Year is an influx of 100,000s of cash-rich Chinese on holiday shopping sprees. They snap up the festival deals in huge quantities, and the malls entertain them. The mainland Chinese use their Spring Festival vacation time to go to Hong Kong and take advantage of the low taxeson the wide selection of luxury products and the hard to get imported products such as powdered milk. They carry them across the border to avoid stiff duties and control.
They come with cash, and the many major malls schedule special promotions,entertainment and displays to attract them. The Chinese may soon overtake Americans as the world's leading consumers of luxury products.
Shopping hours: Malls stay open and even extend hours for the shopping rush during Chinese New Year's Eve and the important first few days of the Chinese New Year. But small market street shops may close for a couple of days or close early.
If you plan on shopping, here are regular and luxury shopping tips and guides.
What makes the Hong Kong Chinese New Year festivities different to those of mainland China isn't only the festival horse racing tradition and the luxurious shopping; it is the Hong Kong and Macau tradition of decorating withflowers and plants and giving them as gifts. It is like the Western tradition of the Christmas tree.
In Hong Kong and Macau, a lot of significance is attached to this custom, and the various kinds of flowers or plants given as gifts denote different wishes or signs and give good luck. Learn more about the Chinese New Year's Eve Flower Market rush on January 30, 2014.
Let us help you join in on the fun, shop, and see the events in Hong Kong.