Many countries in East Asia celebrate Chinese New Year. And, considering Hong Kong is now a part of China, it's hardly groundbreaking news to discover that they do too. No matter where you are, Chinese New Year is about family. Dom Toretto would be proud. It's a time for families to come together, be thankful for what they have, and look forward to the future with hope. So, if you're visiting Hong Kong over the Chinese New Year, what will you be able to get up to?
Below, we'll explore all the best things to do in Hong Kong for the Chinese New Year. We'll also give you an overview of 2024's Zodiac animal and what that means to people born in their year!
- When is the Chinese New Year?
- What does the Year of the Dragon signify?
- Things to do in Hong Kong for Chinese New Year
- Chinese New Year Parade
- Victoria Harbour Fireworks
- Chinese New Year Horse Races
- Spring Lantern Festival
When is the Chinese New Year?
In 2024, the Chinese New Year is on February 10. This year, that means it's the Year of the Dragon.
If you celebrated Chinese New Year in 2023 or before, you'll notice that February 10 is a different date from years past. Well observed! Chinese New Year isn't celebrated on a set date but follows the Chinese Lunar Calendar, which, as you can gather from the 'lunar' title, depends on the moon's cycles.
However, as a vague rule of thumb, Chinese New Year typically falls between 20 and 50 days after the Gregorian calendar's New Year, which is January 1. If you didn't know the calendar used in the West was called the Gregorian calendar, well, you're welcome.
What does the Year of the Dragon signify?
In the Chinese Zodiac, the Dragon represents power, honor, success, and luck. But there are other variables here too, which are determined by the year. For 2024, the Year of the Dragon is combined with the wood element to create the Year of the Wood Dragon. Wood also connotes two additional traits - curiosity and creativity.
People born on this specific date are said to be go-getters, developing unique ideas and then zoning in on them. Driven to succeed, they're often predisposed to a career in business, though, as they're also said to be funny and diplomatic, perhaps their path is not set in stone.
Of course, non-believers may consider all of this complete conjecture, but for those who do believe, it's clear why being born on the Year of the Wood Dragon is considered a blessing!
Things to do in Hong Kong for Chinese New Year
Right, enough backstory; let's get to the main event! If you're looking for things to do in Hong Kong for Chinese New Year, these are the big hitters no traveler should miss!
Chinese New Year Parade
The Chinese New Year Parade is one of the most popular New Year events in Hong Kong. Drawing crowds of thousands every year who line the streets in Tsim Sha Tsui, why not join them and witness the countless colorful floats, lively dragons, traditional Chinese dancers, and bands that make the parade so special?
Things kick off pretty late (typically, the parade starts at 8PM), but festivities in the area normally start at 6PM. If you want to get a good spot, you should definitely get there a few hours early. Perhaps the best course of action is to spend the day exploring the nearby sights and landmarks. That way, you won't be "wasting" time waiting for the parade standing idly.
But what's nearby? Well, Hong Kong's biggest mall, Harbour City, just so happens to be nearby. So, if you fancy doing some light shopping - you won't want a ton of bags with you when watching the parade - it's the perfect time. If you have no interest in that, check out the Avenue of Stars, Kowloon Park, Nathan Road, or the Temple Street Night Market for some snacks instead.
Disclaimer: In 2023, the Chinese New Year Parade was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It's still being determined whether the parade will take place in 2024. As such, it's worth checking online ahead of your trip, just to make sure the parade, as well as other Chinese New Year events, are canceled.
Chinese New Year Fireworks Over Victoria Harbour
On the second day of the Spring Festival, Victoria Harbour typically holds a massive firework display. Lasting around 25 minutes, it usually coincides with the daily Symphony of Lights, which elevates the spectacle to new heights.
For the best views, head to Tsim Sha Tsui, Central, Wan Chai, by boat, or from The Peak.
Disclaimer: Like the parade, fireworks were canceled in 2023. Check ahead online to see if the fireworks are back on.
Chinese New Year Horse Races
Horse races might not be your cup of tea, but for more than 100,000 crowded into Sha Tin Racecourse on day three of the Chinese New Year, it's one of the most exciting things about the celebrations.
But these aren't your average, run-of-the-mill horse races. Instead, this special day of races is organized by the charity 'Hong Kong Jockey Club', and the day's entertainment raises money for good causes.
Expect races, traditional shows, performances, and the opening ceremony, which features plenty of the color red - a staple of Chinese New Year.
Disclaimer: Like the parade and fireworks, the New Year horse races were canceled in 2023. Check ahead online to see if the fireworks are back on.
The Spring Lantern Festival
And at the end of it all, you can see out the Chinese New Year at the Spring Lantern Festival. Hong Kong will fill up with thousands upon thousands of colorful lanterns, and you'll also catch live performances, carnivals, and much more as you wander the city.
So those are the biggest and best things to do in Hong Kong for Chinese New Year! If you plan to spend a good few days in the city, why not fill up your itinerary with fun with Go City? With our All-Inclusive Pass and Explorer Pass, you can see all the city's best bits for one low price!