Cymbal-crashing in the streets; fragrant plumes of joss stick smoke; red lai see packets and oranges everywhere you look? Yep, it must be Chinese New Year. In 2019, we welcome the Year of the Pig and, according to the almanacs, it’s set to be a year of joy and prosperity for all.
Don’t miss the annual Cathay Pacific Chinese New Year Night Parade, bringing colourful floats, marching bands, lion dancing and more to the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui on 5 February. The following evening, get down to Victoria Harbour to enjoy the fireworks at 8pm. Elsewhere, join the annual pilgrimage to Lam Tsuen in the New Territories for the Well-Wishing Festival: write your wish down, tie it to an orange and toss it into the branches of a replica banyan.
For Hongkongers, no Chinese New Year is complete without a feast. Try newly revamped Peking Garden in Tsim Sha Tsui for harbour views and imperial Beijing cuisine like succulent Peking duck. In Wan Chai, fight the cool weather with a chilli and peppercorn banquet at newly opened Sichuan Lab, or pig out on barbecued meat at Hong Kong’s first American smokehouse Mr Brown. For high-end tastes, French-Japanese hybrid Lumi in Pacific Place has a new winter menu studded with standouts such as Kobe beef and a well-appointed afternoon tea. And here’s an excuse to continue feasting after CNY: Chef Andrew Walsh, of Singapore’s award-winning Cure, helms the latest pop-up dinner series at Test Kitchen (13 – 16 February).
After dinner, hop on adrenaline-spiking rides at the AIA Carnival (until 17 February) at Central Harbourfront. Or check out the Hong Kong Arts Festival’s programme of music, opera, drama and dance, which includes performances by Marin Alsop with the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra (21-22 February) and Taiwan’s Cloud Gate Dance Theatre (21-24 February) – a blend of ballet, martial arts and calligraphy. Meanwhile, Hong Kong Ballet channels the roaring ’20s with The Great Gatsby (15-17 February at the Academy for Performing Arts).