The Spring Lantern Festival marks the first full moon of the lunar calendar, and the last day of the almost two-week-long Chinese New Year celebrations.
This ancient tradition of lantern making goes back thousands of years, using natural materials such as bamboo, wheat, paper and silk. Over time the art form flourished, with lanterns becoming more intricate, as well as bigger and more inventive.
The lanterns can take any shape, and as 2020 is the Year of the Rat, you can definitely expect to see some rat or mouse lanterns displayed prominently. Other auspicious symbols are goldfish, fruit, and, of course, dragons, as a symbol of power and strength.
From 17 January to 9 February 2020, head to the outdoor piazza of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui for its Lunar New Year Thematic Lantern Display 2020: ‘Flying High with the Golden Dragon‘. The stunning display is designed to recreate Master Hui Ka-hung’s spectacular and popular golden dragon lantern, which will dance by Victoria Harbour every night from 6-11pm.
This year, there are also four lantern carnivals taking place in different regions of Hong Kong. The carnivals also include a Youth Night, with Chinese ethnic music, dance and acrobatics performances from Henan, traditional craft demonstrations and more. There will also be an exhibition on traditional paper crafting at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre.
Urban Lunar New Year Lantern Carnival
Venue: Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza
Youth Night: 7:30-9:30pm, 7 February
Carnival Night: 7:30-10pm, 8 February
New Territories West Lunar New Year Lantern Carnival
Venue: Tung Chung North Park, Lantau
Youth Night: 7:30-9:30pm, 6 February
Carnival Night: 7:30-10pm, 7 February
New Territories East Lunar New Year Lantern Carnival
Venue: Wai Man Road Playground and Sai Kung Waterfront Park
Youth Night: 7:30-9:30pm, 8 February
Carnival Night: 7-9:30pm, 9 February
The lantern carnival at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui is, of course, the most popular one, both due to its easy access, and because of its prime location right on Victoria Harbour.
Entrance to all the lantern carnivals is free to the public.