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Celebrating Chinese New Year 2017 in Hong Kong

The Spring Festival is the biggest holiday in China. Hong Kong people celebrate differently than in the Mainland. They 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

spring festival

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 in the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui on January 28, 2017, an impressive fireworks display over Victoria Harbor on the next day, and the Chinese New Year horse races on the third (January 30).

Ritzy or bargain shopping? While there, you can shop in one of the world's great cities for ritzy malls, luxury goods, and bargain shopping. The festivities include the "world’s largest sound and light display" daily.

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

(Saturday, January 28, 2017)

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

The Temple Street MarketThe Temple Street Market

Crowds line the streets and make way for the parade in Tsim Sha Tsui area near Victoria Harbor. It will go 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. Before the parade, many entertainers will entertain along the parade route that includes historic Nathan Road, Salisbury Road, Canton Road, and Haiphong Road. The parade starts near the Avenue of Stars on the waterfront, but can you watch it at any place along the way.

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. Performing groups from Hong Kong participated with 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

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, as is iSquare that fills a skyscraper by Nathan Road. The Temple Street Market pedestrian street is a place to browse for bargains and snack or have a meal beforehand.

Day 2: Fireworks over Victoria Harbor on the Second Day

(Sunday, January 29, 2017)

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 is scheduled to roar with a giant fireworks display with choreographed pyrotechnics. It 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 

(January 30, 2017)

The most popular races of all... 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. More on the Hong Kong horse racing season

There is a grand opening show, a featured lion dance, and a variety of cultural performances and entertainment. Professional jockeys will cheer the fans with messages for good luck. The featured race of the day is the Chinese New Year Cup.

The featured race is the Chinese New Year Cup. Gates open at 11 am and races run from noon to 6pm.

Chinese New Year Shopping Spree

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

chinese new year Chinese New Year Shopping Spree

Chinese people go shopping in Hong Kong 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.

The Hong Kong Chinese New New Year has 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 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

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 on January 27, 2017.

Spring Festival Touring

High Travel Season

The Spring Festival is by far the biggest travel period in China. People start to go on the move a few days before the New Year Day, and many don't come back until three or four weeks later if they are having an extended vacation. The busiest travel days extend from a few days before the Chinese New Year until about 8 days afterwards.

Unless you are interested in the holidays, it would be better to see Hong Kong at a less busy time. Travel is easier, and tickets, accommodations and restaurant meals cost much 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 as early as possible weeks or months 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. Check the Chinese New Year dates>>

Planning and Making Trip Arrangements

We can book your tickets and help with your hotel rooms and itineraries. We could provide guides, drivers, and private vehicles for great private tours for individuals and groups. We'll try to arrange your Hong Kong hotel rooms, Hong Kong flights, and China train tickets for a great trip.

Recommended Hong Kong Tour Packages

FireworksNew Year fireworks

Tour Hong Kong during Chinese New Year: Tour Hong Kong for shopping and sightseeing during the big festival.

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