Month by Month Guide to the Best Hong Kong Festivals

From Chinese New Year to Tin Hau

Lion dance in Hong Kong
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Despite being mostly based on religion and faith, Hong Kong festivals are anything but solemn. Dances, colors, noise and incense are all essential elements and visitors are always welcome.

Chinese festivities are based on the lunar calendar and therefore don't have a fixed date each year, although they will usually fall within the same thirty day period. The list below is solely for Chinese festivals in Hong Kong.

Chinese Festivals in Hong Kong Month by Month

February - the Big One- Chinese New Year
Three days of celebrations mark Chinese New Year, culminating with a fantastic firework display in Victoria Harbor and a traditional parade. The whole city is shut for three days as families embark for China to celebrate. 

February/March - Spring Lantern Festival
The Spring Lantern Festival begins on the last official day of Chinese New Year. Brightly colored lanterns are strung up around the city and local couples celebrate Chinese Valentines day, if in an undecidedly unromantic manner – with their families.

April- Ching Ming Festival
Celebrating the beginning of spring, Ching Ming is when families visit their ancestral graves to clean and leave offerings. This can be a fantastic sight as incense and joss sticks are burned and a variety of food is left – including, in unique Hong Kong style, takeaway rice and pork.

April/May - Tin Hau Festival
The Fisherman’s festival sees hundreds of boats, decked out in streamers, pennants and flags, make their way to the Tin Hau temples around the territory to ask for luck in the coming year from the protector of fishermen, Tin Hau.

May-Cheung Chau Festival
Wacky and wonderful, the Cheung Chau Bun Festival climaxes with the infamous bun tower climbing competition.

Join the crowds for this loud party on the island of Cheung Chau.

May - Buddha's Birthday
Despite being a public holiday Lord Buddha's birthday is one of the less exciting festivals. Buddha statues are taken out of their monastery for their once yearly bath - you can watch the chubby Lord get his belly washed in temples across the city. 

June - Dragon Boat Festival
Arguably the most exciting festival of the year. In an adrenalin filled version of the Oxford and Cambridge boat races; eight men dragon boats, ornately decorated, do battle over three days in what is fierce competition.

August - Hungry Ghost Festival
Hong Kong's somewhat scarier version of Halloween; during the seventh moon, it's believed that restless spirits and ghosts return to earth --- some of them with vengeance on their mind.To make the afterlife more comfortable, and appease any restless spirits, family members burn fake money, known as Hell Bank Notes, as well as paper creations of everything from cars to the Apple iPhone. 

September - Mid-Autumn Festival
The city's biggest festival aside from Chinese New Year commemorates the Chinese giving the boot to their Mongolian overlords. Lanterns play a big part in the festival, as do dragon dances, while everyone gorges themselves on mooncakes.

October - Cheung Yeung Festival
Nicknamed the hiking holiday, and based on an old folk tale of a man saved from death by being told to move to higher ground  (it's a long story), many Hong Kong locals still make the trip up into the hills to burn offerings.