Explore the world of Chinese New Year in Hong Kong with our guide to the Year of the Dragon in 2024. From customs, greetings, and the art of giving Lai See (red envelopes) to the meaning of fruits, flowers, and decorations, or even foods and snacks, discover everything about the most popular traditional Chinese festival in Hong Kong.

What Is Chinese New Year?

lunar new year dragon dance
Lion dance in a hotel in Hong Kong (© The HK HUB)

Referred to as ‘Chinese New Year’ in Chinese cultures, and more accurately known as ‘Lunar New Year’ or ‘Spring Festival’ in various Asian cultures, this celebration signifies the start of a new year in the lunar calendar. With a history dating back approximately 3,500 years, the Lunar New Year Festival holds immense cultural significance in Hong Kong. In 2024, Chinese New Year falls on February 10th, 2024. Explore all there is to know about this widely celebrated Chinese festival.

Read the guide: What Is Chinese New Year?

20 Chinese New Year Greetings In Cantonese, Mandarin, English

chinese new year family gathering
Lunar New Year greetings in Hong Kong (© szeyuen via Canva)

In Hong Kong and China, the festival spans 15 days. During this time, loved ones practice “baai nin” (拜年, bai nian in Mandarin). “Baai” signifies a respectful hand clasp over the chest, and when combined with “nin,” meaning year, it represents visiting friends or family to exchange gifts and offer well wishes for the new year. Discover Chinese New Year phrases in Cantonese and Mandarin to convey good luck to others and learn how to respond to their blessings.

Read the guide: Chinese New Year Greetings, Wishes & Sayings In Cantonese, Mandarin, English

See also
Your Complete Guide To Giving Lai See (Red Envelopes) During Chinese New Year

Your Complete Guide To Giving Lai See (Red Envelopes)

hand holding fanned out lunar new year red envelopes filled with money
Hong Kong red packets (© studiosea via Canva)

If you’re unsure about the appropriate amount of red pocket money to give to family members, the origin of this Chinese tradition, and the unwritten rules of lai see giving, allow us to provide some guidance! These envelopes containing cash, known as “lai see” (利是 or 利事) in Cantonese and “hong bao” (紅包) in Mandarin, are traditional gifts exchanged during Lunar New Year celebrations. It’s not just about the monetary value, but what the envelope represents – a wish for luck and prosperity for the recipient.

Read the guide: Your Complete Guide To Giving Lai See (Red Envelopes)

Which Events To Attend In Hong Kong During Chinese New Year?

lunar new year fair hong kong chinese new year

Hong Kong’s Chinese New Year celebrations can last for as long as a month, so it’s hardly surprising that the city is buzzing with spectacular events at this time. There’s something for everyone — from a massive fireworks show and city-wide fairs, to mega porting events and captivating lantern displays. Mark some of these events in your calendar to get well and truly into the spirit of the new year.

Read the guide: 11 Chinese New Year Events In Hong Kong

The Best Chinese New Year Decor & Displays To See In Hong Kong

Walk through Pacific Place’s Chinese New Year-themed corridor (© Pacific Place)
Walk through Pacific Place’s Chinese New Year-themed corridor (© Pacific Place)

Hongkongers are all set to welcome Lunar New Year in a big way. And to commemorate the Year Of The Dragon, districts and malls across the city have organised LNY set-ups that feature everything from larger-than-life dragons and sprawling flower gardens, to lantern displays and even a Duck Tales-inspired set-up. Discover our list of where to see the best Chinese New Year displays in Hong Kong.

Read the guide: The Best Chinese New Year Decor & Displays To See In Hong Kong

See also
11 Haunted Places In Hong Kong You Wouldn't Want To Visit On Halloween Night

13 Chinese New Year Traditions, Customs & Celebrations

chinese new year lion dance
Chinese New Year traditions in Hong Kong (© Lewistsepuilung via Canva)

Wave goodbye to the Year of the Rabbit and embrace Hong Kong’s unique celebration of the Lunar New Year, welcoming the Year of the Dragon. Rooted in traditions dating back centuries, these customs focus on clearing away old energies to usher in good fortune and luck into our lives. Discover the Chinese New Year traditions and customs in the 852.

Read the guide: 13 Chinese New Year Traditions, Customs & Celebrations

10 Chinese New Year Fruits And Their Meanings

tangerines chinese new year
Fruits hold a special meaning during Lunar New Year in Hong Kong (© ShutterOK via Canva)

Explore the world of lucky Chinese New Year fruits. Yes, they are delicious, but they also carry auspicious meanings. Discover the top picks that can add a dash of prosperity to your festive celebrations.

Read the guide: 10 Chinese New Year Fruits And Their Meanings

12 Lunar New Year Flowers And Their Meanings

best lunar new year flowers and their meanings
Hongkongers love to decorate their homes with CNY flowers and trees (© blackred via Canva)

As the Lunar New Year approaches, Hongkongers eagerly prepare for the holiday by sprucing up their homes and decorating them with auspicious flowers. Twelve plants carry special meanings: from red sword lilies symbolising career progress to bright pink plum blossoms representing resilience in tough times, read more about the lucky flowers and trees you can see everywhere in the SAR.

Read the guide: 12 Lunar New Year Flowers, Plants, Trees & Their Meanings

8 Chinese New Year Decorations And Their Meaning

chinese new year lantern decoration 2024
Decorations during Lunar New Year in Hong Kong (© ShutterOK via Canva)

Chinese New Year stands as one of Hong Kong’s most significant celebrations, marking the start of a fresh chapter. The city comes alive with vibrant decorations and ornaments adorning streets, malls, and public spaces, reflecting the festive spirit and cultural importance. These displays can be spotted throughout every corner of Hong Kong, from main thoroughfares to hidden lanes. Let’s unravel the meanings behind these decorations.

Read the guide: 8 Chinese New Year Decorations And Ornaments

13 Lunar New Year Foods & Snacks

family gathering lo hey salad chinese new year
Hongkongers celebrating New Year with yummy food and snacks (© Marcus Chung via Canva)

Chinese New Year signifies a fresh start, uniting loved ones to welcome the year ahead. The centrepiece of these gatherings is… food! Lunar New Year meals feature dishes like “nin gou” and cakes, enjoyed for their good luck symbolism. Learn which dishes to bring for gatherings or what to expect when visiting families during this joyful season. Yum!

Read the guide: 13 Lunar New Year Foods & Snacks

See also
All You Need to Know About Dragon Boat Festival: The Meaning Behind Races & Where To Watch Them In 2023

Our Guide To Chinese New Year Outfits and Clothing

chinese new year outfits
Dress in traditional Chinese costumes and lucky colours during Lunar New Year (© Qipology)

Chinese New Year is not just about family reunions and delicious food; it’s also a time to embrace traditional costume that reflects the grandeur of Chinese heritage. To welcome the year of the dragon, learn about Chinese New Year outfits and clothes, ensuring you’re splendidly dressed for the occasion.

Read the guide: How To Dress For Lunar New Year : Our Guide To Chinese New Year Outfits and Clothing

What Is The Chinese Lantern Festival?

chinese lantern festival
Lanterns during Lunar New Year in Hong Kong (© kowit1982 via Canva)

In Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China, Lunar New Year celebrations conclude with the magical Lantern Festival. This festival includes animal-shaped lantern displays and lantern-holding displays. In 2024, the Lantern Festival falls on February 24th. Explore the interesting mythical and historical origins of this particular holiday and learn about the different ways it is celebrated.

Read the guide: What Is The Chinese Lantern Festival?

Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year: What’s The Difference?

chinese new year or lunar new year

Chinese New Year and Lunar New Year, although similar in meaning, have slight differences. So, which term should we use in Hong Kong? Let’s explore these distinctions along with Spring Festival, Tet (Vietnam), and Seollal (Korea) to understand the terminology and cultural nuances of these celebrated occasions.

Read the guide : Chinese New Year or Lunar New Year, What’s The Difference?

When To Put And Take Down Chinese New Year Decorations?

lunar new year decorations

Decorating homes and public spaces with various ornaments and symbols is an essential part of this festive season. But when should these decorations be put up?

Read the guide: When To Put And Take Down Chinese New Year Decorations?

Header Image Credit: Andrey Khrobostov via Canva

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