In both Hong Kong and Macau, on Chinese New Year's Day, it is a big custom for people to give fresh flowers, potted plants, and bouquets as gifts. They crowd the flower markets several days before, especially on the eve of Chinese New Year.
A lot of sentimental and emotional significance is attached to this custom, and the various kinds of flowers given as gifts denote different wishes or signs.
Why HK and Macau?
The residents of the two cities like and can afford very fresh flowers, so there are huge crowds buying flowers at the major flower markets and flower shops.
Though some people in Chinese mainland, especially Cantonese in Guangdong Province, give gifts of flowers on New Year's Day, giving flowers isn't as important a custom there as in the two regions of HK and Macau. See more on Guangzhou Spring Festival Flower Fair.
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.
The Hong Kong Flower Rush
In Hong Kong, on Chinese New Year's Eve, the crowds are usually especially heavy at the flower markets and market streets. Annually, about 15 temporary markets are set up in parks or other public places. The scramble can get intense. Many vendors keep selling after midnight.
Many Hongkongers have their Chinese New Year's Eve family reunion dinner, and then they go out and shop to be able to present fresh flowers, toys, and holiday foods to the important people in their lives on Chinese New Year's Day when people want to rest and be home with family and go for Spring Fest celebrations such as the Hong Kong Chinese New Year Firework Performance.
Closed for Public 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 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 during the first three days of the Chinese New Year.
Major Market Locations in Hong Kong
The Mongkok Flower Market around Flower Market Road in Mongkok, Kowloon is the biggest permanent flower market with about 100 shops.
Victoria Park on Hong Kong Island is the most popular temporary market. In Kowloon, another popular temporary market is at Fa Hui Park just a short walk from Flower Market Road.
- Victoria Park: 1 Hing Fat Street. Take Exit E from the Causeway Bay Station.
- Mongkok Flower Market: Take Exit C from Mongkok East Station.
During Chinese New Year, any flower market or shop has abundant bouquets, pots and arrangements of Orchids - the variety and colors are limitless.
Orchids are delicate, beautiful, and elegant flowers, and in China, they have long been considered to be symbolic of 'many children' or fertility and abundance. Orchids also signify refinement, luxury, and innocence. These flowers make for valuable gifts in this season.
Flower shops and stalls 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 might be frantic about selling their stock of flowers and potted plants before dawn.
The Macau Flower Rush
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.
Special Flowers and Plants As Gifts
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:
- Tangerine trees: fruitful marriages, goodwill, prosperity, and good luck.
- Peonies: for prosperity.
- Peach blossoms: romance and longevity.
- Lettuce: wealth generation.
- Chrysanthemum: for long life.
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.
Potted shrubs and flowers are ideal for Lucky Chinese New Year Flower and Fruit Gifts during Chinese New Year and are available in all flower markets.
Going to the Alternative Chinese New Year Flower Markets in Macau
Travel between Macau and Hong Kong has become more convenient recently since there are now several regional bus lines that pick people up in locations in Hong Kong and cross the new bridge that opened in 2018. You could also take ferries in about an hour. Hong Kong to Macau Transport.
Visiting Hong Kong or Macau for Chinese New Year
We can tailor-make your itinerary and save your valuable time. This year, we can help you find the best events and things you'll enjoy at lower prices in the region. We provide guides, drivers, and private vehicles for individual and group private tours.
China Highlights can help you customize a tour to celebrate the Chinese New Year as local Chinese do. Create my dream trip.