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Scenes from Celebrating Chinese New Year in Hong Kong

February 11, 2013 at 5:39 PM | by | ()

恭禧發財 or Kung Hei Fat Choi! That's us wishing you a prosperous new year in Cantonese, seeing as how we've hightailed it out of the United States just in time to miss the big blizzard and instead fall into another kind of blizzard—of red hóngbāo envelopes, the kind filled with money given at the start of the Chinese New Year.

Celebrating Chinese New Year is not so simple as getting drunk and standing in one spot to watch some spectacle, a la Times Square; instead, Hong Kong throws a massive bash that lasts for several days of public holiday and focuses on food, family, fun and travel.

By tradition, there's a whole series of "auspicious" things to be accomplished in order to guarantee a lucky, successful year ahead. Some examples are wearing the colors red and gold, dressing up in traditional Chinese attire, tossing and eating a Yusheng Salad, and decorating with tangerines and plum blossom flowers.

There are Hong Kong-specific New Year requirements as well, like visiting Victoria Peak to symbolically walk in a "new direction," making offerings and learning fortunes at the massive Wong Tai Sin temple complex, writing out and attaching your wishes to the trees at Lam Tsuen, and tucking into the cheap eats of the holiday pop-up street food vendors in Mongkok's markets.

Since Chinese New Year focuses so overwhelmingly on enjoying the most positive aspects of life, it's without a doubt the most joyous time to be in Hong Kong (and we've been here over Christmas, when HK goes bazonkers on a shopping high). The only problem with all this? If you're a visitor and you make a wish which then comes true over the course of the year, you must return to Hong Kong in thanks. Really though, that's hardly a problem at all. Leaving Hong Kong may be the real issue.

We're attending Chinese New Year as a guest of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, but naturally all our photos, opinions, and long-standing, genuine adoration of HK are completely our own.

[Photos: Cynthia Drescher/Jaunted]

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