Chinese New Year is the biggest holiday of the year in Hong Kong. It celebrates the beginning of a year based on a lunar calendar, which is why the holiday is also referred to as Lunar New Year. Families and friends gather to celebrate the auspicious occasion.
I haven’t celebrated Chinese New Year in Hong Kong since 1983 when we moved from Hong Kong to South Africa, but do have vivid memories of red lanterns, red envelopes, lion dances, mandarin oranges and fireworks. We usually went horse riding on Chinese New Year’s Day, and I remember how the temples en route to the stables in Fanling were extremely busy during that time of year. The streets were crowded with families, everyone holding red decorations or bags of oranges. It was festive and beautiful.
I also remember that my parents’ friends gave my brother and me small amounts of money in red envelopes as a way of wishing us good luck for the year. I saw gold, pink, green and purple envelopes being sold all over the streets of Hong Kong today so red is not the only option. I bought some purple envelopes signifying good fortune.
I had forgotten how important mandarin oranges and tangerines are during Chinese New Year celebrations, but my memory was jogged when I saw them decorating the city. The fruit is a traditional symbol of abundance and good fortune, so they are on display everywhere and offered to friends and family as gifts. The orange alongside the red is cheerful and vibrant.
In the Chinese zodiac each year is represented by one of twelve animals. So new year also has astrological significance as we transition to a new animal. 2015 is the year of the goat, and if you were born in the year of the goat, this is your lucky year. Kung Hei Fat Choi!
Westfield, who sponsored this morning’s post too, is having a big community celebration of Lunar New Year at Westfield Southcenter on February 21 from 11:00PM to 4:00PM. Focusing on luxury, fashion, and culture, the event will provide traditional Lunar New Year entertainment, such as a lion dance, calligraphy, and much more. We’ll be attending, having returned from Hong Kong the day before.
You can get more details and RSVP for the event at the Westfield Southcenter event page on Facebook.
Westfield has also created a lucky gift guide with products chosen based on your zodiac sign, and a 2015 lucky horoscope where you can enter your date of birth and get your lucky horoscope for the year.