Chinese New Year is considered one of the most important events in China. The Chinese calendar is lunisolar so the Chinese New Year is often referred to as the Lunar New Year. In 2012 the Chinese calendar marks the year of the Dragon which happens once every 12-years. The Dragon Chinese zodiac animal is the most legendary of the 12, they are known to be strong, proud, noble and loyal but can also be arrogant, brash and demanding. In 2012 Chinese New Year begins on January 23rd through February 6th for fifteen full days.
I was Pregnant in Hong Kong when I got to experience my first Chinese New Year. The city is filled with activities and events everyday during the holiday. I participated in a few of the local events and enjoyed my first time experiences as an Expat.
It is considered lucky to have fresh flowers in your home and office for Chinese New Year so I spent an afternoon at the famous flower market in Causeway Bay at Victoria Park. I did not buy anything but walking around and taking in the beautiful colors and scents was well worth the trip. At the flower market you can buy wild orchids, cherry blossoms, mandarin trees and narcissi, plus tons of Chinese zodiac themed items for sale (I was there during the year of the tiger).
At Chinese New Year, it is customary to give thanks for the past 12 months and pray for good fortune in the coming year. We were living one block away from the Man Mo Temple in Sheung Wan so if you pay tribute here it is for the God of Literature (Man) and the God of War (Mo), wishing for health, good fortune and success. I went early durning the holiday to avoid very, very long lines wrapping blocks away from the Temple and all hours of the night. They burn huge bell shaped coils of incense that hang from the ceiling in hope of attracting the gods attention, you can have your fortune read here and people burn fake money in the huge kiln fire in the front as an offering.
Along the Victoria Harbor waterfront between Central and Tsim Sha Tsui you can watch the Huge 23 minute long firework display! We stood in huge crowds of people along the Avenue of the Stars for hours waiting for nightfall but once the show started it was spectacular and loud. I had never experienced anything so grand before (something to put on your bucket list for sure).
Cathay Pacific also puts on a huge parade for families with traditional dance and music being pregnant and knowing it attracts huge crowds we avoided this event but I would love to take my son one day if we are back in Hong Kong over Chinese New Year again.
The best part is all these activities were FREE!
New York City will be hosting many traditional events this year and The Empire State Building is lit up in red and yellow to mark the Chinese Lunar New Year.