Wednesday, February 25, 2015

So We Did It - We Experienced Our First CNY In Hong Kong.

Reflecting back on our first Chinese New Year here in Hong Kong, we were thankful to experience it. Most of our colleagues left the country for the holiday, but our family wanted to have the full experience.

Thursday and Friday of the new year, we found the shops, local bakeries, restaurants, and local grocery stores closed. If we're in Hong Kong next year, I'll definitely remember to stock up on bottled water as well as groceries beforehand. The main malls and the shops inside the malls were still open on both days. Fortunately there is usually a grocery store in each mall, so our unprepared family was able to purchase food.

The week leading up to the holiday we also saw flower shops with an overabundance of floral displays. When I went to the Flower Market in Mong Kok to pick up my centerpiece for our holiday dinner party, it was an exciting madhouse of activity with additional plastic buckets of flowers and branches spilling out into the street. In Kowloon City there were more flower shops than the usual, with some also selling on the front steps of the market's entrance.

Thursday morning we started hearing the popping of firecrackers around lunch time. Friday morning the firecrackers were set off a little earlier, around mid morning. It's fun to have a story to go along with the popping of firecrackers. We knew that the people setting them off were trying to scare off the dragon Nian.

We found public transportation to be a little more difficult during the holiday. Minibus' did not run as frequently causing them to be more crowded and a little harder to find a seat. The trains were busier as well. It is tradition for families to travel in order to visit their eldest relative during this time, so there were plenty of people carrying gift bags and dressed in their best.

We handed out our red packets with both hands to the doormen of our apartment building as well as to some friends who have young children. We did not hand them out to our single female friends though {sorry friends}, which is a tradition here. We knew not to give out coins in the packets, but I'm not sure how crisp our bank notes were. We did not want to stand in line at the bank to withdraw new bills.

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