Ruminations on the Year of the Goat: Celebrating CNY in Pictures!

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Festivals, Markets

I must admit, I am not really one for observing traditions or upholding customary beliefs. That said, I do find practices that perpetuate cultural heritage to often be quite fascinating, even if (or perhaps especially when) they are particularly perplexing to me.

As I’ve posted previously, Chinese New Year is the ultimate celebration in this area. It is a roughly two-week-long, intense, spirited period – bursting with rituals and strongly evocative of the past. Hong Kong is temporarily transported back in time, peppered with lanterns, lion dances, and lai see (red money packets). The city is abuzz with temple festivals, fruit and flower markets, Chinese opera, dedicated horse races, and banquets featuring traditional culinary treats such as whole steamed fish (symbolizing good fortune – and we can all use some more of that, right?). The modernized aspects of the lunar festival celebrations indulge spectators in a chaotic annual night parade with international performers, and a basic but festive burst of fireworks.

If you’re not really into this sort of thing – well, good luck with your attempts to circumvent! The pervasiveness of the festivities are nearly inescapable and somewhat exhausting. But with the right frame of mind, you may also find it all intriguing. At the very least, you have to admire the holiday’s inevitable focus on family and celebration of children. Who knows? You may actually reckon it all a bit charming…

Ok, enough with my ruminations (sorry – it is the year of the goat, after all – I couldn’t help myself!). Without further ado, here is my photo tribute to this CNY’s grand kick-off parties. Kung Hei Fat Choy! Wishing you all an inspired and joy-filled new year!

Carefully selecting red-tinged CNY goodies (for good fortune, of course!)

Carefully selecting red-tinged CNY goodies (for good fortune, of course!)

Among the most beautiful specimens at this year's Victoria Park flower market

Among the most beautiful specimens at this year’s Victoria Park flower market

Goat-ing in the new year - with lanterns!

Goat-ing in the new year – with lanterns!

Aw, young sibling love...

Aw, young sibling love…

One of the heart-pumping CNY races at the Sha Tin Racecourse

One of the heart-pumping CNY races at the Sha Tin Racecourse

Pinwheels add to the local color at the flower market

Pinwheels add to the local color at the flower market

Amidst the greens and flora  - decisions, decisions

Amidst the greens and flora – decisions, decisions

Hmm...my hair is nicer than yours - you may want to try my conditioner?

Hmm…my hair is nicer than yours – want to borrow my conditioner?

Vying for the CNY Cup at the Sha Tin Racecourse

Vying for the CNY Cup at the Sha Tin Racecourse

Lucky fruit towers and sycees (faux gold 'boats') symbolizing prosperity

Lucky fruit towers and sycees (faux gold ‘boats’) symbolizing prosperity

Pyrotechnics, HK style! CNY fireworks viewed from one of the city's numerous skyscrapers

Pyrotechnics, HK style! CNY fireworks viewed from one of the city’s numerous skyscrapers

Impassioned CNY crowds at the races

Impassioned CNY crowds at the races

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Reflecting on past years...

Reflecting on past years…

...and looking joyfully toward the next year!

…and looking joyfully toward the next year!

You know how certain smells can transport you? For me, the sweet smell of Chinese sacred lilies (symbolizing purity and sacred knowledge) will always float in my mind and remind me of CNY in HK

You know how certain smells can transport you? For me, the sweet smell of Chinese sacred lilies (symbolizing purity and sacred knowledge) will always float in my mind and remind me of CNY in HK

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Skeptical how crowded HK can get during the new year celebrations? Does this make you believe?

Skeptical how crowded HK can really get during the new year celebrations? Does this make you believe?

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Despite the festive, upbeat nature of the CNY Cup races, I still find horse racing to be a bit questionable - both for the animals themselves and the gamblers

Despite the festive, upbeat nature of the CNY Cup races, I still find horse racing to be a bit questionable – both for the animals themselves and the overly intense gamblers

Betting on horses in HK is serious business, with CNY as no exception

Betting on horses in HK is serious business, with CNY as no exception

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No matter what you think of the races, it's hard not to be slightly astonished that you can stumble upon these smack in the middle of the city - with high-rises and mountains looming in the background

No matter what you think of the races, it’s hard not to be slightly astonished that you can stumble upon these smack in the middle of the city – with high-rises and mountains looming in the background

Wishing you and yours a fabulous new year...

Wishing you and yours a fabulous new year…

...and that you always keep this kind of magical wonder in your mind and in your heart!

…and that you always keep this kind of magical wonder in your mind and in your heart!

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All images © 2015 deb fong photography

Related post: Rite or Wrong? The Grip of Rituals (Chinese New Year in Hong Kong)

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Posted by

Globetrotter based in Hong Kong, travel and street photographer, Getty Images contributor, award-winning blogger of WanderFong.com - seeking true beauty in travel and life!

5 thoughts on “Ruminations on the Year of the Goat: Celebrating CNY in Pictures!”

    • And happy new year to you! Thank you so much, HK and I would love to welcome you here :). Thanks for viewing and sending such nice sentiments my way!

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  1. Wish I was there to celebrate it with you again this year and to enjoy all the excitement. My best to everyone this Year of the Goat.

    Liked by 2 people

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