Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year, is the biggest and longest festival in Hong Kong with celebrations lasting for up to 15 days! This year, February 19th marks the first day of the New Year in the Chinese calendar.
Celebrations traditionally run from Chinese New Year's Eve (the last day of the last month of the Chinese calendar), to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first month. During these period, most government offices, banks, businesses and public utilities are closed.
However, commercial establishments, restaurants and shopping malls in the busy districts remain open. Shopping malls also usually extend opening hours. Major tourist attractions, theme parks and public transport will operate as usual. Street markets are usually close on the first and second days of the Chinese New Year (19 – 20 February) and resume business from the third day (21 February).
Major events are slated on the first three days of the Chinese New Year. On February 19th (Thursday), there will be an International Chinese New Year's Parade in the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui near Victoria Harbour. The parade will feature dozens of floats, marching bands and street performers from various parts of the globe, highlighting Hong Kong as a World City.
The parade will start at the plaza of the Hong Kong Cultural Center near the Avenue of Stars and proceeds down Canton Road, turns right on Haiphong Road, and then turns right again on historic Nathan Road to Salisbury Road. Then it goes past the Space Museum back to the Hong Kong Cultural Center. It can be viewed anywhere along this route. Special spectator stands will be set up outside the Hong Kong Cultural Center and will be available to the public for a fee. There will be preliminary entertainment along the route before the parade starts at 8pm.
On the second day (February 20th, Friday), there will be a fireworks show over Victoria Harbor at 8pm. coinciding with the iconic Symphony of Lights.
On February 21st, Day 3 of the Chinese New Year, the most popular race in Hong Kong will be held at the Sha Tin Racecourse. Apart from the Chinese New Year Cup, the featured race of the day, the event is higlighted with a full program of traditional and colorful festivities including a grand opening show, a lion dance, cultural performances and other forms of entertainment. More than 100,000 people are expected to attand this event.