Chinese New Year in Hong Kong | Hong Kong Pass

The biggest festival on the Chinese calendar, Chinese New Year is the start of the new Chinese zodiac year and is celebrated in a big way, learn more below.

Chinese New Year is undoubtedly the most important event in not just Hong Kong but across all of China’s calendar. The holiday, known also as the Lunar New Year and Spring Festival, is the official start to the lunar calendar and kicks off a new zodiac year. It’s a massive deal and Hong Kong comes alive with colours, fireworks, dragon dances and gorgeous floral displays over the course of two weeks, as locals gather for family reunions and unforgettable Chinese New Year events are easily the highlight of any visitors’ trip to the city. Read on for more about the colourful holiday below...

When is Chinese New Year?

Chinese New Year is intimately tied to the lunar cycle and takes place on a new moon, usually at the end of January or beginning of February. The exact date differs from year to year and brings with it a new zodiac animal to kick off the cycle - 2018 is currently the year of the dog.

Chinese New Year 2019

Next year, Chinese New Year will take place on February 5 and according to the zodiac cycle, it will be the year of the pig. The holiday will run until February 19, with February 5-7 having been officially announced as public holidays. (It’s worth keeping that in mind, as many stores and attractions’ opening hours may be affected.)

Chinese New Year Hong Kong

Celebrating the Lunar New Year in Hong Kong is a thrilling adventure, as the entire city comes alive with reds, golds and colourful traditions. The skyline totally changes as skyscrapers race to outdo one another with vibrant Chinese New Year neon signs and decorations line the street, as traditional dragon and lion dances take place to ward off evil spirits and ring in the new year.

Chinese New Year Hong Kong Events

Chinese New Year Fireworks Hong Kong
The highlight of the holiday for visitors (and many locals) tends to be the Chinese New Year fireworks Hong Kong display, a grand choreographed event which takes place over Victoria Harbour. If you’re thinking about joining the throng, it’s worth giving the wildly busy harbourfront crowds in Tamar Park and Tsim Sha Tsui a miss - head to the heights or book in for an unforgettable fireworks junk boat experience.

Chinese New Year Hong Kong Flower Markets
Hong Kong comes alive with the sight of mandarin orange trees, orchids, daffodils and lucky bamboo around this time year - all symbols of good fortune, luck and happiness for the year to come. As such, gigantic flower markets set up across the city touting beautiful blooms and they’re well worth a visit as the colours, sights and smells are utterly overwhelming in the best way. The most popular flower market is the one located in Victoria Park over in Causeway Bay, which not only sells flowers but also traditional trinkets, toys and treats perfect for snacking on while sightseeing.

Chinese New Year Night Parade
Take the Star Ferry over to Tsim Sha Tsui and park yourself along one of the many barriers set up along the main street, as the sprawling neighbourhood becomes the home of the iconic night parade during Chinese New Year. The two hour display features unbelievable floats, live acrobatic, drumming and dance performances as well as gorgeous dragon and lion dances - making it the perfect event to see the best traditional performances the city has to offer.

Chinese Zodiac

The Lunar New Year is deeply connected to the Chinese Zodiac and has a twelve year cycle, tied to each of the twelve animals of the zodiac. In order, these animals include the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. Tradition dictates that if you were born in the year of a specific animal, you are more likely to adopt that animal’s traits and will also forge deeper connections with those with born in the year of a complementary zodiac animal.

If you are unaware of your Chinese Zodiac sign, the animals and corresponding birth years are listed below.

Rat: 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960

Ox: 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961

Tiger: 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962

Rabbit: 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963

Dragon: 2012, 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964

Snake: 2013, 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965

Horse: 2014, 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966

Goat/ Ram: 2015, 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967

Monkey: 2016, 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968

Rooster: 2017, 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969

Dog: 2018, 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970

Pig: 2019, 2007, 1995, 1983, 1971