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Hong Kong FestivalsLike most of China, the people of Hong Kong are very keen on festivals and have them all throughout the year, so there is a high chance that visits may witness these momentous events without even planning for it. Hong Kong's already fecund streets become filled with color and life at these times making truly unforgettable experiences.
Chinese New Year occurs on February 12 and is one of the most important Chinese festivals and is still celebrated in the traditional way in Hong Kong, with flowers everywhere and huge parades through the already busy streets.
The Spring Lantern Festival on February 26 is also important, as it signifies the end of the Chinese New Year Celebrations. It is marked by hanging up different traditional designs of paper lanterns in bright colors around temples, shops and houses.
On April 16, fishermen celebrate the birthday of Tin Hau, the Goddess of the Sea. This is done with temple ceremonies where thousands of fishermen congregate to pray together for good catches over the next year. Boats are decorated and parades and lion dances take place in the streets. Many tourists choose to go on a tour to an old Tin Hau Temple.
Somewhere in April or May, falls the Cheung Chau Bun Festival on Cheung Chau Island. Island residents, sailors and fishermen all pray to a Taoist Deity called Pak Tai, King of the Underworld. A huge parade of different animal dances and acrobatic performers makes its way through the streets of the island. Many of the young people dress up and put heavy make up on to be suspended above the heads of observers with rods and wires. The main highlight of the festival are the Giant Bun Towers, which are huge, 16 meter tall buns covered in pink and white locust paste which are put up outside the temple of Pak Tai.
June 25 sees the Dragon Boat festival, an unusual festival unique to Honk Kong. The festival is in honor of a local hero called Ou Yuan and marks the day of his death. Legend has it that, as an act of protest against an evil and corrupt government, Ou Yuan drowned himself in the 3rd century BC, and local people tried to scare the fish away from his body by beating drums and throwing food into the water. The festival today consists of eating dumplings, swimming in the river and racing decorative dragon boats. All of this is accompanied by the beating of drums. These races take place all around the coastal regions of Hong Kong.
One of the stranger festivals is the Hungry Ghost Festival on September 2. This festival is based around Chinese legend that says that for exactly one month of every year, ghosts come down to earth. The festival is based around appeasing them with offerings of food and fires along the roads on which some burn paper money. Parades are also held in many places.
Mid-Autumn Festival is held on October 1, which celebrates the harvest moon. It is celebrated by the Fire Dragon dance and by children taking lanterns to open places to stare at the moon.