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A family’s guide to celebrating Chinese New Year in Hong Kong

A family dressed in new, red clothes posing in front of Chinese New Year decorations against the Hong Kong skyline

Chinese New Year is a cherished festival that unites families in joyful celebration. In Chinese traditional culture, each year is associated with one of the twelve Chinese Zodiac animals. The dragon, symbolising good fortune and power, takes on an even greater meaning in 2024, accentuating the anticipation for this grand occasion as the Year of the Dragon. The festivities commence with heartfelt greetings, such as "Kung Hei Fat Choi" (Wishing you prosperity) and "Sun Tai Gin Hong" (Wishing you good health), accompanied by the exchange of red envelopes (lai see), filled with lucky money, and are exchanged among family members. Bedecked in vibrant red attire, families visit relatives, sharing gifts and well wishes.

Learn more about lai see etiquette and other Chinese New Year rituals in Chinese New Year traditions: do’s and don’ts.

Experience Chinese New Year festival traditions in Hong Kong

Lee Tung Avenue adorned with red lantern decorations as part of the Chinese New Year festivities in Hong Kong

During Chinese New Year, adults joyfully guide children in traditional Chinese customs like hanging lanterns, symbolising unity and light, and pasting the calligraphed Chinese character 福 on doors or windows to manifest good fortune and happiness. They also decorate their homes with flowers to represent wealth and happiness. These activities not only embellish the house but also offer blessings for peace and happiness. 

Crowds of visitors at Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees and a child jumping up to throw a wish placard into a tree.

Embrace the spirit of wishing

As the new year approaches, visiting temples becomes more than a prayer for both parents and children. On the eve of the Chinese New Year, Wong Tai Sin Temple is always bustling with worshippers extending warm wishes for favour, abundance, good health, and safety for their entire family. On the second day of Chinese New Year, you can visit the Che Kung Temple in Sha Tin to bring home an iconic windmill. Adults often use it to pray for good fortune while children may enjoy it as a toy.

Tsz Shan Monastery in Tai Po doubles as a place to offer blessings as well as beautiful scenery. Additionally, a visit to Lam Tsuen is highly recommended, where enchanting wishing trees are adorned with vibrant wishing placards. The higher the placard hangs, the greater the chance of the wish coming true. Why not create a family challenge to see who can aim for the best fortune in the Year of the Dragon?

A lively and festive lion dance alongside the Clock Tower in Hong Kong

Revel in dragon and lion dances

As you and your family explore the Chinese New Year festivities, prepare to be enthralled by dragon and lion dances, which can often be witnessed at places like temples, shopping malls or along some of Hong Kong’s bustling streets. The lion dance is a traditional performance symbolising good luck, prosperity and the banishment of evil spirits in Chinese culture as the lions leap and bounce to the rhythmic sounds of gongs and drums.

The dragon dance takes the spectacle to another level. With teams of dozens of people dancing with a majestic golden dragon, the sight is truly spectacular. These lion and dragon dances not only allow us to appreciate the rich cultural heritage but also provide a colourful visual spectacle and a cheerful sense of celebration.

Let's take to the streets and malls to capture this multi-sensory experience and immerse ourselves in the joyous atmosphere of the Chinese New Year celebrations.

Flower market stalls selling colourful flowers and mandarins for Chinese New Year

Explore Chinese New Year flower markets

Visiting the flower markets during the Chinese New Year is a cherished tradition in Hong Kong where families can spend an entire day! There is an enormous variety of festive goods suitable for both adults and children. Parents can buy decorations like seasonal flowers, dragon-themed greetings, while children can easily pick a delightful toy to take home. 

In addition to shopping, these lively markets offer a range of games, music and entertainment that will delight everyone. You’ll find an assortment of colourful snacks, including fish balls, egg puffs, and candy floss, designed to captivate children with their enticing colours and shapes. Prepare for a joyful outing that combines entertainment for all ages.

The flower market in Victoria Park is the largest and most popular in Hong Kong, while the one in Mong Kok is another crowd-pleasing destination to visit. Hong Kong’s flower markets usually open a week before the Chinese New Year and become more lively as the holiday approaches, especially in the early morning of the first day of the new year when the crowds are continuous. 

Crowds of visitors at Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees and a child jumping up to throw a wish placard into a tree.

Indulge in traditional New Year delicacies

Traditional Chinese New Year is always filled with heartwarming flavours. On the eve of the Chinese New Year, families gather for a reunion dinner, where the dishes not only taste delicious but also carry auspicious meanings. Both parents and children will love delightful treats like nin gou (Chinese New Year pudding) which symbolise growth and embodies the aspiration for children to achieve better grades. Similarly, tong yuen (glutinous rice balls) represents harmony, wholeness, and the ability to bring families closer together. Uncover the fascinating symbolism behind some of the festival’s other essential dishes such as fish, poon choi, fat choi and tangerines here: Enjoy blessings at Chinese New Year with these lucky eats.


Engage in joyous happenings in the city

Crowds of spectators watching the Chinese New Year parade on the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui

To experience the lively Chinese New Year atmosphere throughout Hong Kong, there are numerous exciting activities to choose from. These include exploring malls adorned with Chinese New Year decorations and exclusive shopping offers, enjoying festive performances, and events at theme parks, or admiring the spectacular night parade and fireworks.

Large vibrant display of red, green and white lanterns at Central Market in Hong Kong at night.

Marvel at Chinese New Year displays

To welcome the Year of the Dragon, major shopping malls such as apm, Citywalk, Festival Walk, Harbour City, Langham Place, New Town Plaza, Pacific Place, Time Square, 1881 Heritage and others adorn themselves with splendid Chinese New Year décor. From delightful cartoon characters to traditional displays carrying deep blessings, they will be a visual delight. Seize the opportunity to snap some family pics as keepsakes for cherished memories. Another great place to visit is the outdoor shopping boulevard Lee Tung Avenue with its mesmerising display of Chinese lanterns along the tree-lined pedestrian walkway!

Disney characters dressed in festive Chinese attire greeting everyone outside the Hong Kong Disneyland castle.

Magical moments at theme parks and attractions

Experience the magic of Chinese New Year celebrations at popular themed attractions in Hong Kong, including Hong Kong Disneyland, Hong Kong Ocean Park, The Peak, sky100, LEGOLAND, and more. Enjoy activities such as enchanting light shows, lively parades, cheerful music and dance performances and entertaining games. These festivities promise an unforgettable experience for both children and adults alike.

Chinese New Year Night Parade with a brightly decorated float surrounded by traditional lion dancers

Join the exciting night parade

The 2024 Cathay International Chinese New Year Night Parade will take place on 10 February 2024, the first day of the Chinese New Year with the theme of ‘World Party. Great Celebration’. Since its inception in 1996, this globally renowned festival has been highly anticipated. This year, witness a spectacular parade of dazzling floats and dynamic performances showcasing incredible talent in this lively street party.  

Secure a seat at the spectator stands at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza by purchasing a ticket at the Hong Kong Tourism Board Kowloon Visitor Centre, or there is free viewing along the parade route of Canton Road, Haiphong Road and Nathan Road. To ensure a prime viewing spot, arrive early! Alternatively, you can appreciate the lively procession from high vantage points such as iSQUARE. Regardless of where you are, people of all ages will be immersed in the joy brought by this grand celebration.

Make the most of Chinese New Year and check off these other experiences for maximising Chinese New Year in Hong Kong: from anticipation to celebration and beyond.

Colourful Chinese New Year fireworks above the Hong Kong Island skyline with the luminescent glow from buildings reflected in the Victoria Harbour.

Be enthralled by the fireworks

The Victoria Harbour Chinese New Year fireworks make a dazzling return this year, elevating the festive atmosphere to new heights. With a rich history, the fireworks display traditionally takes place on the second day of the Chinese New Year. Attracting a multitude of people who arrive early to secure favourable positions, these are some of the best along both sides of Victoria Harbour: Avenue of Stars or Ocean Terminal Deck in Tsim Sha Tsui, Tamar Park in Admiralty, Central Ferry Piers in Central, Bauhinia Square or Wan Chai Waterfront Promenade in Wan Chai, West Kowloon Art Park in Kowloon and East Coast Park Precinct in North Point.

Other unique vantage points are up high with a panoramic view of Hong Kong’s iconic skyline at The Peak or aboard a scenic cruise on a traditional Chinese junk boat, the Aqua Luna. Prior to the spectacle, you can bring along some snacks for you and your family to enjoy while waiting. Alternatively, you can dine at family-friendly restaurants such as Above & Beyond, Al Molo, Café Gray Deluxe or The Peak Lookout, which combine stunning views and delicious food.

Celebrate Chinese New Year in Hong Kong like never before!
Explore more festivities
Celebrate Chinese New Year in Hong Kong like never before!
Explore more festivities

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