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Celebrating Chinese New Year 2019 in Hong Kong

Chinese New Year Day marks the beginning of the Spring Festival holidays (春节 Chūn Jié) that are the biggest holidays in China. Hong Kong's Chinese New Year festival is world famous.

  • Chinese New Year 2019: Tuesday, February 5

Hong Kong people mark the occasion with a unique fusion of modern fun and ancient customs. The three days of night parade, giant fireworks, and horse racing often make it to the top of the lists of world festival events.

One of the 10 Top Holiday Extravaganzas in the World

Hong Kong's Chinese New Year celebration was recently listed by Forbes as one of the world's 10 best festival extravaganzas along with Germany's Oktoberfest and Brazil's Carnival. Lonely Planet also lists the Hong Kong Chinese New Year as one of the world's top events.

The first three days of the Spring Festival is a prime time to tour one of Asia's favorite destinations.

What makes it so good? There is a big International Chinese New Year's Parade on February 5, 2019, an impressive fireworks display over Victoria Harbor on the next day, and the Chinese New Year horse races on the third (February 7).

Shopping? While there, you can shop in one of the world's great cities for ritzy malls, luxury goods, and bargain shopping.

Day 1: The Parade and Entertainment on New Year’s Day

(Tuesday, February 5, 2019, parade begins 8pm)

The Temple Street MarketThe Temple Street Market

Holiday Kickoff: The streets hop to the beating music, and the crowds enjoy the parade.

Crowds line the streets and make way for the parade in Tsim Sha Tsui area near Victoria Harbor. It goes by some Hong Kong highlights such as the Avenue of Stars, Kowloon Park, and the Golden Mile of Nathan Road.

Floats and Performances

Dozens of performing groups and bands participate. Starting about 6 pm before the parade, many entertainers entertain along the parade route that includes historic Nathan Road, Salisbury Road, Canton Road, and Haiphong Road.

In 2016, 13 floats representing 10 including countries and regions were featured. There were also performing groups from countries including Germany, Japan, and the Philippines. Participating groups from Hong Kong performed dragon dances, choreographic rope skipping and dance routines. It shows that Hong Kong is an international city with influences from all over the world.

Touring and Shopping

Hong Kong Symphony of LightsHong Kong Symphony of Lights

Before the parade, you could tour the attractions and shop and dine. Hong Kong's biggest mall, Harbour City, is open along the parade route.

The Temple Street Market pedestrian street is a place to browse for bargains and snack or have a meal beforehand.

Learn more about Hong Kong Shopping.

Day 2: Fireworks over Victoria Harbor on the Second Day

(Wednesday, February 6, 2019, 8pm)

Hong Kong Chinese new yearVictoria Harbor blazes with fireworks, while the lights dance on the buildings.

On Day 2 of the Spring Festival, Victoria Harbor was scheduled to roar with a giant fireworks display with choreographed pyrotechnics. The show was set to last about 25 minutes.

The Hong Kong government cancelled the planned massive fireworks display for 2018 on February 17, 2018 due to a bus crash tragedy on February 10.

It usually joins in with the daily record-setting Symphony of Lights with its colorful building lights and laser light show.

Day 3: Horse Races on the Third Day

(Thursday, February 7, 2019)

The most popular races of all... 100,000 excited fans 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) feature a full program of traditional and colorful festivities. There is a grand opening show and cultural performances and entertainment. The featured race is the Chinese New Year Cup. More on the Hong Kong horse racing season>>>

Chinese New Year Shopping Spree

Promotions, discounts, and entertainment help make holiday sales skyrocket.

chinese new yearChinese New Year Shopping Spree

Crowds go shopping in Hong Kong before and during the Spring Festival shopping for holiday food, decorations, clothes, gifts, and furniture. Portable luxury products are now the star sellers.

Hong Kong experiences 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 take advantage of Hong Kong's low taxes on the wide selection of luxury products, quality electronics, 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

Family Shopping in Hong KongFamily shopping in Hong Kong

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:

The Different Local Festival Customs

New Year lanternsNew Year lanterns

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 with flowers and plants and giving them as gifts.

In Hong Kong and Macau, a lot of significance is attached to this custom, and the various kinds of flowers or plants that are given as gifts denote different wishes or signs and give good luck. Learn more about the Chinese New Year's Eve Flower Market Rush 2019.

Spring Festival Touring

High Travel Season

Chinese New Year travel rushMany railway stations get packed at CNY.

The Spring Festival is by far the heaviest travel period in China. This peak of travel starts about a week before New Year Day, quiets during the Spring Festival holidays, and then peaks again during the 8 days after the Chinese New Year holidays.

Unless you are interested in experiencing the holidays, it would be better to see Hong Kong at a less busy time. Travel is easier, and accommodations and meals cost less. Also, Chinese businesses, restaurants, and stores traditionally close up for a several day vacation starting from the evening of Chinese New Year's eve.

Get your tickets early weeks or months beforehand since people snap up transportation for these dates. Demand is very high for international flight tickets and train tickets. Check the Chinese New Year dates>>

Recommended Hong Kong Tour Packages

Tour Hong Kong with China HighlightsHong Kong is often warm at Chinese New Year!

Our tours can all be customized. If you would like to spend more or less time somewhere, or want to do something else, let us know.

Here are two recommended Hong Kong tour itineraries for Chinese New Year, for your reference:

You can create your own dream trip: Tailor-make your own Chinese New Year tour to visit the places you want in Hong Kong and China.

Further Reading