Year of the Horse

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New year celebrations in Hong Kong

New year celebrations in Hong Kong

Chinese New Year is upon us – this year it being the Year of the Horse.

There will be celebrations in most of our cities where there are strong Chinese communities but in the Far East the celebrations will be much larger. Take just two popular destinations, Hong Kong and Taiwan for example.

In Hong Kong they will  start the festivities with 19th International Chinese New Year Night Parade on the evening of 31 January. Organised by the Hong Kong Tourism Board the annual spectacle, this year themed “New Year Party @ World City”, will dazzle crowds with a procession of floats and performers. Hong Kong always hosts one of the biggest and the best celebrations which is why it attracts hundreds of thousands of spectators and visitors.  The floats will be adorned with thousands of lights and there will be music, dancing and beads galore. This year The Hong Kong Cultural Centre will transform into a “circus” to welcome 34 festive floats and performing troupes from 15 countries and regions, with a special appearance from the winners of the World Clown Competition. Spectators will be treated to extravagant displays from local and international performers including; a dragon dance on bicycles, fire dancers from Singapore, the Aussie Cheer and Dance Collective and the Bicycle Showbank from the Netherlands amongst others.

 
Taiwanese celebrations will continue until the 23rd February when Taiwan hosts the annual Lantern Festival to welcome the Year of the Horse. The festival takes place from 14th-23rd February 2014 and is celebrated with a wonderful display of glittering lanterns.

LanternTaiwan’s largest festival, the Lantern Festival, is held annually on the first full moon of the lunar calendar – this year, February 14th February. This event forms the final celebrations of the traditional Chinese New Year and the two-week long festival is celebrated throughout the country with towns and villages putting on stunning displays of decorative lanterns depicting birds, beasts and historical figures.

The main festival is held in a different region every year, with the 2014 event being held in the city of Zhongxing in the Nantou County, known as the heart of Taiwan as it is the only landlocked county on the island.

Also known as the Spring Festival, Chinese New Year is celebrated from the first to the fifth day of the first month of the Chinese lunar calendar with a number of customs and traditions. On Chinese New Year’s Eve for example, families complete their spring cleaning, signifying the sweeping away of the misfortunes of the previous year. Adults will also give the younger members of the family, particularly children, red envelopes with money inside as a sign of peace and good fortune. Fire crackers are later set off to welcome the arrival of the New Year.

 

 

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