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Why You Should Travel To Hong Kong For The New Year's Parade

By John Riggin

The New Year's parade in Hong Kong is an event not to be missed! The city is dressed up with bright decorations and colorful lights for its biggest celebration of the year, and thousands pour into Hong Kong to take part in the festivities.

Winding along Hong Kong's picturesque waterfront, the New Year's parade is filled with colorful, lavishly decorated floats. Representatives from Hong Kong and countries all over the world sing, dance and play music. The songs of marching bands fill the air along the parade's route as performers in bright costumes prance along the streets.

The forthcoming year (2006) is the Year of the Dog. No matter which zodiac animal is being celebrated for the coming year, there are always plenty of lions and dragons in the parade. Energetic dancers wearing giant lion heads leap in the air as long dragons held aloft by more than twenty people snake past the enthralled parade watchers.

The New Year's parade is the biggest event of Hong Kong's Lunar New Year celebration. Close to 300,000 people attend the parade and millions more watch it on television. In recent years the parade has taken place in the evening, featuring vivid, dazzling light displays.

The Lunar New Year is one of Hong Kong's most important and well-loved holidays. Each year one of twelve different animals is celebrated, according to the Chinese zodiac. Many of the city's towering skyscrapers are decked out in glittering lights for the holiday. Throughout the three-day celebration, dancers in colorful costumes perform lion and dragon dances in the streets, malls and hotel lobbies. Traditionally, people exchange small, red envelopes filled with money as gifts. Flower markets show up all over the city during the holiday, selling plants and flowers with special significance, and stores and restaurants display flowers meant to bring immortality and good luck.

The New Year celebration usually begins anywhere from January 21 to February 19, depending on the year. While the holiday officially lasts fifteen days, in Hong Kong it is celebrated for three days, with the New Year's parade taking place on the first day. January 29, 2006 is the first day of the forthcoming new year.

The day after the New Year's parade a brilliant display of fireworks lights up Hong Kong's famous Victoria Harbour. The fireworks can be viewed from the waterfront or from boats cruising the harbour. On the third day of the celebration a large horse race takes place at the Sha Tin racetrack. This lively race is a favorite for gamblers and horseracing enthusiasts.

It's no wonder why so many travel to discover all that Hong Kong has to offer, with the vibrant fusion of ancient customs and modern day fun at one of the world's biggest Chinese New Year celebrations.


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