Hong Kong. A bustling city juxtaposed with the natural beauty of rolling hills and sandy beaches, it is my home away from home. My childhood was inundated with fast food from 7-Eleven, crowded commutes on ferries and subways, and spontaneous hikes after school and on weekends. There was no end of things to do. While I enjoyed it all, I loved the holidays best. Every December and February, the buildings lining Victoria Harbor shone with greetings and well wishes. The end and the beginning of each year blended together into three months of pure bliss.
Chinese New Year was, and is, my favorite holiday season. Streets are embellished with festive lanterns. The city is set aflame. Red blazes through the streets, weaving in and out of restaurants and shops as it spreads good fortune and happiness through every corner of the congested metropolis. An army’s worth of food is created and consumed in the span of a week, with plenty of leftovers symbolizing the fortune you will have in the New Year. The sweet smell of tangerines, proffered by loved ones, sticks to your fingertips. Families reminisce, and friends create new memories. To me, this is when the city is at its finest.
When I traveled to the City of Lights in this convivial month, there was no doubt that my family would go to Victoria Park. No February trip to Hong Kong would be complete without visiting the flower market in the aforementioned park. Officially called the Victoria Park Lunar New Year Fair, the flower market is an annual pilgrimage for flowers, street food, and unique products created by local school students to raise funds for their societies. I fell in love with the coconut stall, salivating over the sheer volume on display before finally purchasing one. Pussy willows, narcissus, orchids – representing oncoming prosperity, good fortune, and abundance – are a staple of the brilliant flora and fauna crowding tables and shelves. Dolls and balloons of beloved cartoon characters can be found in every corner. To the far left by the park entry, stalls of student-run shops sell products exclusively designed and created by the entrepreneurial youth of this city. One of my favorite purchases? A file folder stating ‘Life is easy A.F.’ Not sure I agree with the sentiment, but the aesthetic was too pleasing to pass up on!
Chinese New Year sees Hong Kong bursting with all the promise and possibility that the future holds. If you can, see the city clothed in the colors of wealth and success.