I must admit, I am not really one for observing traditions or upholding customary beliefs. That said, I do find practices that perpetuate cultural heritage to often be quite fascinating, even if (or perhaps especially when) they are particularly perplexing to me.
As I’ve posted previously, Chinese New Year is the ultimate celebration in this area. It is a roughly two-week-long, intense, spirited period – bursting with rituals and strongly evocative of the past. Hong Kong is temporarily transported back in time, peppered with lanterns, lion dances, and lai see (red money packets). The city is abuzz with temple festivals, fruit and flower markets, Chinese opera, dedicated horse races, and banquets featuring traditional culinary treats such as whole steamed fish (symbolizing good fortune – and we can all use some more of that, right?). The modernized aspects of the lunar festival celebrations indulge spectators in a chaotic annual night parade with international performers, and a basic but festive burst of fireworks.
If you’re not really into this sort of thing – well, good luck with your attempts to circumvent! The pervasiveness of the festivities are nearly inescapable and somewhat exhausting. But with the right frame of mind, you may also find it all intriguing. At the very least, you have to admire the holiday’s inevitable focus on family and celebration of children. Who knows? You may actually reckon it all a bit charming…
Ok, enough with my ruminations (sorry – it is the year of the goat, after all – I couldn’t help myself!). Without further ado, here is my photo tribute to this CNY’s grand kick-off parties. Kung Hei Fat Choy! Wishing you all an inspired and joy-filled new year!
All images © 2015 deb fong photography