“Gong Hei Fat Choi! Happy New Year!” These words passed your ears all the time these last days. With the Hong Kong New Year’s Celebration I have now witnessed the beginning of the year of the snake. Once again, the festivities were marked by the New Year’s Fireworks in the Victoria Harbor, but this year I also went to watch the New Year’s Parade in TST the evening before.
To stand in the first row and actually be able to see something, my family and I came to the parade’s road nearly two hours early. The streets were already filled with people, but not as much as they would be the next day, for the fireworks, I realized. The waiting for the parade was a painful act, only lightened by the small pre-program that had been organized before the parade – yet repeated itself twice and sometimes three times. For the pre-program, several groups, bands and schools from Hong Kong had come together to perform some of their skills. We saw a “professional yoyo group”, young ballet dancers, several marching bands, an accordion group, an “African dance and music” group and even a whole bunch of locals in Scottish skirts playing bagpipes! It looked hilarious! What I personally found particularly intriguing during the pre-program was the group of young girls, aged maybe five to ten, who danced Can Can on the streets; with big whirling skirts that they pulled up and around. Surely nothing that such young dance groups in Germany usually have on their repertoire!
The Parade itself was much more interesting, but stretched out over a very long time period, with partially huge time gaps between the individual shows and presentations. That is why after a while, my family and I also left early. However, the parade was still very pleasing to watch. Gigantic rolling ships and cars drove by, decorated with animals and sculptures or Chinese New Year Blessings. People in costumes, dressed like clocks, industry workers, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck (for Disneyland) and or other danced and cheered on the carts.
The parade featured multiple international groups who had come to dance and run through the streets and wave at and perform for the spectators. There was a roller skater performance group from Estonia, a dance group from Bolivia, many women in traditional Russian costumes, Lolitas – from Japan, if I remember correctly -, more marching bands and an Ocean Park wagon with glowing pandas, fish and jellyfish walking in front. We also saw the Energy group of Hong Kong, all dressed in green and blue and carrying a gigantic earth ball with them, as well as several Circus groups, Dragons and of course Lion Dancers. There was dazzling variety!
However, despite all mesmerizing amusement – nothing beat the New Year’s Fireworks in the Harbor the next day …