Chinese New Year was February 10th. This was our fist time celebrating Chinese New Year in Hong Kong. It was a lot of fun to experience the culture during their biggest festival celebration of the year. Weeks before Chinese New Year I began to notice lots of fresh potted mums and dahlias! Yes dahlias! Such a treat to see over here. Those potted flowers were almost always by small ornamental potted orange trees. These were found next to the front doors of buildings or houses.
The week before the New Year my friend Dora organized a fabulous party for all of the kids here in Gold Coast. It was a wonderful time filled with lots of good asian food, games and crafts for the kids to enjoy. Another good friend of mine, Kez and I hosted a craft table at the party. We made New Year celebration noise makers, similar to maracas. Last year was the year of the Dragon…a popular and ‘lucky’ year to the Chinese. This year we welcomed the year of the Snake. The boys also made a large paper snake that now hangs in their room.
There are many traditions that encompass this celebration. Often you will see traditional Chinese attire worn. We bought the boys traditional Chinese silk jackets that they wore for the New Year. The looked so handsome! 🙂 We also learned that on the eve of the New Year and then on New Year day much time is spent with family. One tradition families participate in is the giving of ‘red packets’ to children. They are pretty little red envelopes with money inside for the children. People give these to children in their families but also to children of friends and aquantenances. My Chinese friend from Bible study gave each of our boys a packet with the equivalent of $6 in it! Our lobby lady also gave all the boys a red pack. Hong Kong is a busy place and it doesn’t slow down for much. Our open market was closed though and so were most of the shops on Chinese New Year.
On the actual New Year day we went to the home of a colleague of Abe’s for a BBQ. They live in a village house on Lantao Island. While we were there we began to hear drumming music. We went out on their roof top and had a perfect view of the ‘dragon dance’. The dragon was followed by a small group of people winding through the village. Apparently the dancing dragon goes up to the door of homes and if there is a branch/vine hanging for him to eat he will ‘gobble’ it up and then folks light firecrackers or shoot poppers with confetti. It was really fun to watch!
Firecrackers and fireworks are also a big part of their celebration. We began to hear firecrackers many days prior to the New Year. Then 2 days after the New Year the city of Hong Kong celebrated downtown with a huge fireworks show. We went to see them with another expat family from GC. It was busy downtown but we found a perfect place to watch them next to the water. The boys enjoyed it, even Wesley (with mama plugging his ears)! It was the best and loudest fireworks display we’ve ever seen! Happy Chinese New Year!