The International Chinese New Year Night Parade is one of Hong Kong’s most anticipated annual events, with fantastic floats and spectacular performances by local and international performers welcoming Chinese New Year with a festive energy that is uniquely Hong Kong.
The historical significance of Chinese New Year is rooted in vibrant lore. Legend holds that in ancient times, the mythical animal Nian would attack villages each New Year’s Eve after waking from a year’s slumber. As the story goes, one year, Nian came upon a village where several buffalo boys were engaging in a whip-cracking competition. The monster was so frightened by the explosive sounds that he fled to another village, only to be met with another startling scenario: a line of bright red clothes hanging to dry. Fleeing in terror once again, he happened upon a third village where he peeked in the crack of a door. Inside, the image of a bright burning candle dizzied him into a frenzy.
The annual celebration of Chinese New Year has grown out of this tradition of superstition. For thousands of years since, the Chinese have hung crimson-colored lanterns to scare away the beast, giving the occasion its iconic color. Especially on the first day of the New Year, loud firecrackers, drums, and cymbals echo through the city, while fireworks and burning bamboo sticks keep the sky ablaze—all to keep the mythical Nian at bay.
In the evening, a parade snakes through Tsim Sha Tsui with a few dozen floats and a wealth of performers. Revelers pack nearby restaurants and bars in the Central, Hollywood and SoHo districts of Hong Kong.
The highlight of your Hong Kong CNY experience will undoubtedly be the fireworks display over Victoria Harbor. The best viewing spots include the new Tim Ma Park right on the waterfront, the Avenue of the Stars in Kowloon side across from Hong Kong Island, and on Victoria Peak where you can take in the show’s entirety from a different height. The third day of Chinese New Year, called Lucky Money Day, is more focused on how to accelerate your prosperity. Less visually spectacular than previous days, this day is instead host to a crowning event of a different notoriety: the year’s largest horse races at the Sha Tin course.