Each year for over 4,000 years on the first day of the Lunar New Year calendar is a celebration. The Chinese, Vietnamese, and many other Asian peoples commemorate a year of hard work, wishes for good luck, prosperity and to rest before beginning a New Year.
There are a number of fun and ceremonial traditions that create the most festive atmosphere throughout the streets, restaurants, and markets. The children in new red and gold outfits, Mandarin trees and branches with new blossoms are traditional decorations in homes, offices and public buildings. The Five Spirits are frequent visitors to businesses to bring prosperity and good luck.
The Night Time Parade in Hong Kong is a spectacular assemblage of floats, children’s dance groups, Lion Dancers, performers from countries around the world, a rainbow of colors, lights and pageantry. Some of the entries portray ancient cultures and New Year traditions from centuries gone by.
The next night Hong Kong continues the New Year festivity with the world’s largest fireworks display over Victoria Harbor. For horseracing fans, the horses arrive from all four corners of the globe to race at Sha Tin, it is said that over One Billion Dollars is waged on the second day of the New Year. The merchants in the stores all offer “New Year” specials for the first shoppers of the New Year.
The centerpiece of the Chinese New Year is the Family Reunion Dinner on New Year’s Eve. The restaurants are filled with large families dining on Peking Duck, Beggar’s Chicken, extensive special desserts and sweets just for the New Year.
Beginning on New Year’s Day and for the next two week’s visits to family and friends include gifts of special sweets, nuts, and fruits to bring good luck and prosperity to everyone. Further traditions include temple visits to honor the relatives that have passed, sharing the Red Envelopes with cash inside for children and single family members.