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Hong Kong's Top 10 : Festivals and Events

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  1. Chinese New Year

    Hong Kong’s most celebrated festival is a riot of neon and noise. Skyscrapers on both sides of the harbour are lit up to varying degrees depending on the vicissitudes of the economy, fireworks explode over the harbour, shops shut down and doormen suddenly turn nice, hoping for a handout of lai see (lucky money).

    • Three days from the first day of the first moon, usually late Jan or early Feb

    Fireworks, Chinese New Year

    Flowers for Chinese New Year
  2. Spring Lantern (Yuen Siu) Festival

    Also known as Chinese Valentine’s Day, this festival marks the end of the traditional Lunar New Year celebrations. Canoodling couples take to the parks under the gentle glow of lanterns and peeping Tom arrests surge.

    • The 15th day of the lunar calendar (end Feb)

  3. Tin Hau Festival

    This is the big one if you make your living from the sea. Fishermen make floral paper offerings to Tin Hau, the goddess of the sea, hoping for fine weather and full nets. (Her views on overfishing and dragnetting aren’t clear.) Try the temples at Stanley, Joss House Bay or Tin Hau Temple Road.

    • The 23rd day of the 3rd moon (Apr)

    Tin Hau Festival
  4. Cheung Chau Bun Festival

    Talk about a bunfight. Young men used to scale 8-m (26-ft) towers covered in buns until in the 1970s they started falling off and the practice was banned. It was revived in a tamer form in2005.

    • The 6th day of 4th moon (May)

    • Cheung Chau

    Bun Festival
  5. Ching Ming

    Also known as the grave-sweeping festival, ching mingmeans “clear and bright”. This is when Chinese families visit the graves of their ancestors to clear them of any weeds and wilted flowers. Many people also light incense and burn paper money.

    • First week of Apr

  6. Dragon Boat (Tuen Ng) Festival

    Drums thunder and paddles churn the waters of Hong Kong as garish craft vie for the top prize. The festival honours Qu Yuan, a 3rd-century poet-statesman who drowned himself to protest against corrupt rulers.

    • The 5th day of the 5th moon (early June), various venues

    Dragon boats

    Dragon Dance, Tin Hau
  7. Hungry Ghost (Yue Laan) Festival

    From the 14th day of the seventh moon, Chinese believe the gates of hell are thrown open and the undead run riot on earth for a month. Lots more “Hell money” goes up in smoke, as do various hillsides. Not a good time for hiking.

    • Roughly Jul, various locations

  8. Mid-Autumn Festival

    One of the most picturesque of Hong Kong’s festivals. Families brave the most appalling traffic jams to venture out into the country parks to burn candles and feast on yolk-centred moon-cakes. Unfortunately, the intricate paper lanterns have increasingly been supplanted by glowing, blow-up Hello Kitty, Doraemon and Pokémon dolls.

    • The 15th night of the 8th moon (Aug); try Victoria Park

  9. Chung Yeung Festival

    Put on your hiking boots. This festival commemorates a Han Dynasty scholar who took his family up a hill and came back to find the rest of his village murdered.

    • The 9th evening of the 9th moon (usually mid- to late Oct); visit any hilltop

  10. Christmas Day

    Not a traditional Chinese festival, of course, but Hong Kongers have wholeheartedly embraced the more commercial aspects of Christmas.

    • 25th Dec

Top 10 Sporting Events

  1. Rugby 10s

    Beer-swilling mayhem and fast and furious rugby.

    HK Rugby Football Union

  2. Rugby Sevens

    More of the above.

    • Week in Mar following the 10s

  3. Cricket Sixes

    Action around the stumps.

    Kowloon Cricket Club

    • 2367 4141

    • Nov

  4. International Dragon Boat Races

    Festive boats compete on the Shing Mun River.

    Sha Tin

    • mid-Jun

  5. International Races

    Pounding equine competition.

    Sha Tin Racecourse

    HK Jockey Club

    • 2966 8335

    • Dec

  6. Carlsberg Cup

    Soccer action.

    Hong Kong Football Association

    • 2712 9122

    • Late Jan

  7. Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon

    The gruelling race starts at the Cultural Centre, Tsim Sha Tsui.

    • 2577 0800

    • Early Feb

  8. Macau Grand Prix

    Formula 3 action on the former Portuguese enclave.

    • 8796 2268 (Macau)

    • 2838 8680 (Hong Kong)

    • 3rd weekend Nov

  9. Trailwalker

    A gruelling 60-mile (100-km) walk over MacLehose Trail, in aid of the charity Oxfam.

    Oxfam

    • 2520 2525

    • Nov

  10. Hong Kong Open

    Asia’s top golfing stars on show.

    Asian PGA

    • 2330 8227

    • Late Nov

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