Chinese New Year!

Chinese New Year—or the Spring Festival (春節), as it’s sometimes called—just ended here, and we had a great time taking in some of the sights and sounds. It’s a big deal here (obviously), and quite different from Solar New Year in the US: more days, more family, more decorations, less booze. The celebration of the lunar New Year is a bit different in different parts of Asia. Here in Hong Kong it’s “only” four days.

Of course there are decorations. Here’s the entrance foyer of our building.

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Here’s the mall:

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As the Spring Holiday, flowers are imperative, and flower markets spring up all over. The largest one is in Victoria Park, on HK Island, but we opted to go to the local one. It did not disappoint.

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Yeah, there’s a dead fish floating in there.

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Mandarin oranges or kumquats are the traditional fruit of the New Year. Did you know that the English word “kumquat” comes from the Cantonese gam1 gwat1 (金橘) meaning “golden orange”? It does.

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Our local New Year flower market was set up on the basketball courts of a local park.

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Later we strolled through the (permanent) flower market area of Kowloon. It was crazy busy. Here’s a photo:

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And here’s a video so you can see for yourself. Note that this is just a normal street corner, and so navigating this whole area was a bit of a challenge.

On Sunday night we went to the Cathay Pacific International Chinese New Year Night Parade 2013®. Amazingly, we managed to secure a spot on Haiphong Road, right next to the metal barricades, which spot we had to fiercely defend against attempted encroachment from other interested parties. The view while waiting for the action to begin:

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Before the official parade kick-off at 8pm, there was an hour of “street performers” to keep folks entertained. That started off with the traditional Cavalcade of Expensive Sports Cars:CNY-19

And local dance academies. (The LED-enhanced tutu was apparently a thing this year; all the dancers had them.)

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And your traditional Chinese/Scottish pipes and drums:

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And a Hong Kong accordion troupe, which played (no kidding) “Edelweiss” the entire time, barely audible over the din of the DJ attempting to get the crowd to “make some noise” and “get pumped up”:

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Once the parade itself began (which was, frankly, pretty indistinguishable from the “street performers” that preceded it), there was a variety of international acts, including the Estonian Precision Roller Skating Team and this marching band from Poland:

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Of course there were some crazy performers:

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Big surprise: some little kids near us found this seriously freaky.

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We have no idea what the relationship was between these cool neon wheels and the guys dressed as sneakers. Not visible, but also a part of this group, were people dressed up like Tetris pieces. Why? We do not know.

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This cute little character was escorted by Bubbles from “The Wire.”

Much of the parade, as with most big-deal parades these days, consisted of giant advertisements dressed up like floats. This one, from the HK Tourism Board, was one of the more understated entries.

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I think you need to see a close-up of the drivers.

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I love these guys.

Pretty exhausted from standing in the crowds for hours, we opted on Monday night, the second day of the New Year celebration, to view the fireworks from a dinner cruise in the harbor.

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This is a brand of beer I had not encountered before, but which I hope to encounter again. Party Beer, people.

The sky was clear that night and the fireworks, as promised, were spectacular.

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And here’s a little video montage I put together. It features some highlights of the parade (presented in the order in which they appeared, so you can get a sense of just how crazy it was) and a few seconds of spectacular fireworks footage.

Kung hei fat choi!

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1 Comment

Filed under Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, New Territories, photos, video

One response to “Chinese New Year!

  1. Matt Pickett

    Dude! Your pictures just keeping getting better and better! Very entertaining post, mister.

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