|A dragon dance performance in Hong Kong. Photo: Handout
MANILA, Philippines – Most countries with Chinese communities, including the Philippines, welcome the new lunar year with “lucky” activities such as lion and dragon dances and a bountiful feast complete with noodles, whole fish and round dishes.
Yee sang, or the prosperity toss, is popular in Singapore and other Asian nations. In Hong Kong, the Philippines’ nearest Chinese neighbor, locals have their own set of activities dedicated to the lunar year celebrations.
A number of tourists fly to Hong Kong just to see how the Chinese New Year festivities there are like. But for those who have time and budget constraints, the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) provided these tips on how to celebrate the occasion like a true Hongkonger:
1. Spring clean your house a few days before Chinese New Year’s Eve. It doesn’t matter if it is already clean or not because you are sweeping out bad luck to make room for good fortune in a new year.
2. Paste spring couplets on red paper on either side of the door to your home. Make sure they are up and ready for the eve of the festival.
3. Go to a flower market and pick out an auspicious bloom for your home. Chinese sacred lilies and miniature orange trees are good for luck in general. Pick up a peach blossom if you want to improve your love life.
4. Join your family for a big meal on Chinese New Year’s Eve. In Hong Kong, locals go to Wong Tai Sin temple to plant sticks of incense in urns.
5. Spend the rest of the day visiting relatives, playing mahjong and dispensing and receiving red packets of cash. In Hong Kong, locals head to Tsim Sha Tsui for the International Night Parade.
6. If you are married and female, return to your family’s home for a meal on the second day of the Chinese New Year. In Hong Kong, locals gather at the harbor for a grand fireworks display.
7. Avoid argumentative types on the third day of the Chinese New Year, which is considered a likely time to get into a spat. Hong Kong locals usually visit a Che Kung temple or the horse race track.
8. On Day 4, go shopping.
9. Wish yourself and everyone you meet a happy birthday on the seventh day of the Chinese New Year. Called “renri,” this day is considered as everyone’s birthday.
10. Light a lantern on the 15th day of the Chinese New Year, which is called the Spring Lantern Festival. In Hong Kong, the event is characterized by lantern displays and traditional performances.
Meanwhile, HKTB has lined up activities for Chinese New Year in Hong Kong until February 23.
These include a flower market until February 9, a night parade on February 10, a fireworks display on February 11, a horse racing event on February 12, parade float exhibits and stage performances from February 11 to 23, and fortune-seeking trips to temples.
For more details, visit www.discoverhongkong.com.