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Hong Kong - Leisure and Entertainment
The festivals in Hong Kong are some of the city’s biggest attractions. Chinese New Year, or Lunar New Year, might be the most popular festival and his happens around the start of February. There are fireworks, parades, and many of the districts have their own mini festivals and celebrations in addition to what goes on in the larger areas. In April, Ching Ming has families visiting the cemeteries to clean up their ancestor’s graves. They also make offerings so that the deceased will have food and money.
In the third century BC, fishermen attempted to rescue someone after they threw themselves into the river. Now, to commemorate that event, during the Tuen Ng Festival there are traditional Dragon Boat races. This festival occurs in June on the 5th day. Later on in September, the Mid-Autumn Festival celebrates the uprising against the Mongols in the 14th Century. Moon cakes are consumed and people carry lanterns to the hillsides to watch the moon come up.
The Hungry Ghost Festival, celebrated in August, is very similar to Halloween. At this time, efforts are made to please the restless spirits who wander the earth. Offerings are made to ancestors in the afterlife and food is left out for those who have not passed on. This is also the time when some of the Chinese opera performances are held on bamboo stages throughout the country.
Additional festivals in Hong Kong include the Birthday of Che Kung, Spring Lantern festival, Cheung Chau Bun festival, Birthday of Buddha, Seven Sisters Festival, Monkey God Festival, and the Winter Solstice Festival. For a complete list of festivals and the activities that can normally be found on those dates, visit Hong Kong’s tourism website at: http://www.discoverhongkong.com/eng/see-do/events-festivals/chinese-festivals/index.jsp
Although Hong Kong is noted as a major metro area, almost half of the area is devoted to parks. The different parks and nature reserves offer a host of hiking, walking, cycling, boating, and running facilities. There are also many family friendly places that are popular with both natives and expats alike. Madame Tussaud’s, for example, is located on the Peak and has an assortment of famous people who have been immortalized in wax. At Ocean Park, there is a large aquarium, cable cars, rides, and exhibits showing Chinese history. At the Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens in Victoria Peak, there are reptiles, mammals, and more than 600 birds.
On pleasant days, many residents of Hong Kong visit the beach. There are many beaches throughout Hong Kong and these offer water sports, swimming, and sunbathing. You can look in the newspapers and at the beach to find current water quality levels. It is recommended that the beach is avoided right after a rain since there is a threat of contamination at this time.
With several marinas in Hong Kong, boating is a popular pastime, too. It is possible to sail, jet-ski, or take out your own private yacht. Some people enjoy taking what is called a junk trip where they journey to another island for a picnic and a swim.
The restaurant scene and café culture in Hong Kong is vibrant and unique. Cafes offer inexpensive meals for people on the move, although it’s also possible to stay and dine in as well. With more and more people enjoying coffee and coffee drinks in Hong Kong, coffee houses have sprung up throughout the city as well. There are restaurants that cater to all kinds of tastes and budgets. Many families’ meals are eaten out since the living spaces in Hong Kong apartments tend to be small. While breakfast and lunch tend to be eaten alone, dinner is more of a social affair.
Throughout the year, there are various musical recitals, performances, exhibits, concerts, state productions, and other cultural activities throughout Hong Kong. The Leisure and Cultural Services Department maintains a list of scheduled events that they sponsor, as well as a list of their museums, libraries, stages, sports centers, festivals, and exhibitions.
Leisure and Cultural Services Department
Tel: 852 2414 5555