Hong Kong's Well Wishing Festival is very much a part of the Lunar New Year Celebrations and a long-established tradition.
Locals will come to Lam Tsuen in the New Territories to wish for good luck for the New Year and it's a great chance for you to get involved in the local colour and flavours of the ongoing festivities.
Although not exactly right around the corner, Lam Tsuen can be easily reached with the MTR which brings you nearby the main square where the festivities take place.
So what exactly is the Well-Wishing Festival and what's so special about it to make the trek to the New Territories worthwhile? It is a colorful festival in a way that Hong Kong traditional festivals are, with some unique traditions and events, among others:
This is quite a fun exercise and feel free to join in:
You will see a lot of the local folks participating in this event. They come to pray for a variety of wishes: a baby, better jobs, spouses for their sons and daughters, good results in school, wealth and prosperity, etc. Along with the message-writing and tossing, there is a lot of incense burning, chanting, and overall a very happy and lively atmosphere.
Releasing a Wishing Lantern is another popular tradition where water lanterns are released into the Lam Tsuen canal.
There are lighting ceremonies throughout the festivities and just walking along the river surrounded by a sea of beautiful lotus lanterns carrying the good fortune for the New Year is quite an experience and a beautiful sight at night.
There's of course the food stalls, game booths and cultural performances.
If you missed the Chinese New Year Parade on New Year's Day, you get a second chance here as all the floats will be on display at the Festival.
Cultural Performances by a South American Group
There will also be performances by the groups that participated at the parade, troupes from all over the world sharing in their cultural heritage.
So all in all, the Well-Wishing Festival in Lam Tsuen is a great way to spend the day away from the urban hustle and bustle, enjoying some of the local traditions and sampling lots of delicious local snacks.
The festival typically runs for the first couple of weeks of the Lunar New Year. The cultural performances, folk exhibitions, and food stalls will be happening throughout the entire period.
Where? At Lam Tsuen Wishing Square
When? February 8 - 22, 2016
How Much? Most events are free, there is a fee for special banquets and feasts.
This is the official site of the Hong Kong Well-Wishing Festival (site in Chinese).
This is a fantastic tour but before we go further, please note that tours are only conducted in Cantonese.
It's a day away from the city into the New Territories including:
When? Several Dates Feb 9 - 14, 2016, Feb 20 - 21, 2016, Feb 27 - 28, 2016
Where? Meet at Kowloon Tong MTR Exit D, 12pm tour ends at same location around 9pm
How Much? HK$165 - HK$175 depending on date
Chinese New Year Race Day (Horse Racing) - February 10, 2016 - noon to 6pm
Lunar New Year Lantern Carnival - February 22, 2016
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