Chinese New Year, also referred to as Lunar New Year, is the biggest celebration in the Chinese calendar. Many families come together during this time to eat, drink and give red envelopes (lai see) full of money. While this years celebrations may look a little different, there is still plenty to do.
Zen out at Chi Lin Nunnery
This large Buddhist complex in Diamond Hill was founded in the 1930s as a retreat for Buddhist nuns. It was rebuilt in the 1990s following traditional Tang Dynasty architecture – constructed entirely from cypress wood, using no nails. It is, in fact, the world’s largest handmade wooden building. Once you’ve viewed the nunnery, stroll through over 3.5 hectares of landscaped gardens at the surrounding Nan Lian Gardens.
Visit the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery
The Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery is actually five temples, four pavilions, one pagoda – and 430 steep hillside steps to reach them. Make sure the walking party is forewarned and forearmed. Alongside the climb are dozens of golden and painted life-size Buddha statues, all of which are different, so take your time and catch your breath while you have a look.
Volunteer at an animal shelter
Founded by Sally Andersen in 2003, Hong Kong Dog Rescue has two locations in Ap Lei Chau and Tai Po. Both homes are always looking for volunteers to help walk and take care of the dogs. You may even come home with a furry friend of your own. hongkongdogrescue.com
Chow down on festive treats
Celebrate Chinese New Year with decadent puddings and gifting hampers. If full Chinese New Year menu isn’t your thing, try a festive themed afternoon tea instead, featuring a range of auspicious foods including tangerine’s and Abalone.
Read more: the best Lunar New Year menus
Buy a tree
Brighten your surroundings with a Mandarin tree. The fruit is believed to bring prosperity and fortune around this time of year. According to the latest government information, Hong Kong’s Lunar New Year flower markets will be open but with crowd-control measures and reduced opening hours. Victoria Park Market offers a spectacular display or head to Prince Edward Flower Market to pick up a bargain.
Get your crafting kit out and spend the morning helping your little ones create their very own Chinese New Year lantern. Lanterns come in all shapes and sizes, however, the traditional red and gold balloon lantern is most popular at this time of year. Red decorations are considered to bring good luck into the home and scare away evil spirits.