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.
In fact, if you will miss the main celebrations on the first and second day of the New Year, this is a good place to "catch up", as the floats and performing troupes from the parade will be here, and it will be firecrackers and lion dances galore throughout the carnival which lasts for a couple of weeks into the New Year.
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:
- Well-Wishing at the Wishing Trees
- Releasing of the Wishing Lanterns
- The Floats from this year's Lunar New Year Parade will be on display at the Festival
- The performing groups from the Parade will also be at the Festival
Well-Wishing at the Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees
Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees with Wish Messages
This is quite a fun exercise and feel free to join in:
- First you write your wish on a paper (traditionally red or gold for good luck), together with your name and date of birth
- Tie it with a string
- On the other end of the string, you tie an orange
- Toss them over the wishing tree, aim for a sturdy branch
- The message should succesfully catch on one of the branches and remain hanging for your wish to come true!
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 of the Wishing Lanterns
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.
Releasing wish lanterns
The Well-Wishing Carnival
There's of course the food stalls, game booths, cultural performances, the lion dances...
Lion Dances at the Well Wishing Carnival
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.
There will also be performances by the groups that participated at the parade, troupes from all over the world sharing in their cultural heritage.
Parade Troupes perform at the Well Wishing Carnival
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.
Lam Tsuen Well-Wishing Festival 2023
The festival typically runs for the first couple of weeks of the Lunar New Year starting on New Year's Day. The cultural performances, folk exhibitions, and food stalls will be happening throughout the entire period.
Where? At Lam Tsuen Wishing Square
- Take the MTR to Tai Wo Station (New Territories)
- Then a free shuttle or taxi to Lam Tsuen Wishing Square
When? January 22 to February 5, 2023
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) or follow their Facebook Page for latest news.
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