It’s here! At last!
All the preparations are finally complete and now Chinese New Year is here!
The first day of Chinese New Year started out with visiting family.
On the way to the bus stop, our neighborhood seemed like a ghost town. Everywhere was closed for the holiday with fai chun and red signs stating when they’d reopen. Majority of shops seem to be closed this whole coming week.
Our first stop was visiting Johnny’s dad’s side of the family. When we arrived, we were greeted with various New Year snacks to eat while we waited for the actual meal to be prepared.
Our actual lunch consisted of all vegetarian food. This was my first time eating vegetarian food in Hong Kong and it was surprisingly good!
I would love to eat at one of the monasteries one day.
After leaving Johnny’s grandmother, it was time to visit his mom’s side of the family. His whole family gathered together again in his grandpa’s apartment. Everyone ate and played games while receiving lucky lai see (red envelopes).
Once all the family festivities were over, it was time to get ready for the Cathay Pacific International Chinese New Year Night Parade.
This is a world famous event that has taken place for the past 18 years, and has been consistently ranked by Forbes as one of the world’s 10 best events. We left for Tsim Sha Tsui 2 hours before the parade began and already the crowds had begun.
An hour before the parade was scheduled to begin, a street party started. Various performers would pass through the parade route providing entertainment.
A majority of these performers also were showcased later in the parade as the smaller filler-type acts between the big floats. It was nice though to have something to watch while waiting.
Finally the parade began! It of course started with their sponsor’s float- Cathay Pacific.
So here are some of my favorite photos from the parade with the act names listed (if known).
2013 Cathay Pacific International Chinese New Year Night Parade
Cai Shen (the god of wealth) was featured on Hang Seng Bank’s float.
The beloved Ocean Park theme park also had a float with plenty of street performers dressed as pandas and more.
Once we saw Ocean Park’s float we knew that Disney couldn’t be far behind. All the children started jumping up and down and excitedly yelling out mai kei, the Cantonese name for Mickey. Disney has always been known for the elaborate Chinese New Year festivals!
The next group was one of my favorites. I was super excited to see lion dances because I had never seen one in person. This was the Ha Kwok Cheung Group and their lions were lined with LED lights.
My favorite part were the lions that were balancing on the poles (as seen in the background below). Those performers had barely anything to stand on for balance during the whole parade. Amazing!
Another cool act was called LUXe from Ireland. Their entire act involved acrobats and fire, it felt like watching Cirque Du Soleil.
More traditional lion dances performed by Hong Kong Chinese Martial Arts Dragon and Lion Dance Association Ltd.
The Zwilling J.A. Henckels float. This was the company’s first year in the parade.
There were tons of various dance troupes and ballet academies performing. All the little children seemed so excited to be in the parade. I particularly liked SDM Jazz & Ballet Academie because their costumes looked like carousels.
The Spanish Sun from Spain also performed a few dances. All the children kept trying to reach for their feathers! A few workers passed by with the group holding some of the feathers that the dancers had lost.
The Hong Kong Jockey Club. Walking in front of the float there were dancers dressed as jockeys and riding on the float was one of the real jockeys from the club.
The crowd lining the street as the parade is nearing its end.
The Hong Kong Tourism Board (another sponsor) was the last of the big floats. I liked all of the sweet candy detail for the happy@hongkong theme of the parade.
The Cheung Keung Martial Arts Association ended the parade with a snake dance and a giant pearl-chasing dragon.
The end of the parade– see you next year maybe!
I had kind of hoped for more of a snake theme. I had really only seen 2-3 things in honor of Year of the Snake. But overall, I really enjoyed the parade. Some of the acts were incredible and it was cool to see that over 14 countries participated- including the USA! It really was a world-class event.
Sun Nin Fai Lok!
14 more days of Chinese New Year celebrations to come.