Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Happy Chinese New Year of the Monkey

By some twist of fate and airfare prices we ended up arriving in  Hong Kong (for the first leg of our Pacific Rim Tour) just in time to celebrate the Lunar New New with My Husband's family.
 
We left home and traveled to San Francisco Airport on Thursday evening and arrived in Hong Kong on Saturday morning just as the sun rose in a crisp blue winter sky. Friday did not seem to register at all!.

When I was a kid dreaming of world travel, crossing the international date line seemed so exotic, as did crossing the equator. On this trip I'll be crossing both imaginary lines on our planet and the thought still thrills me!

Temperatures have been uncharacteristically low here and we were surprised at how cold it felt - and still feels... But the up-shot is beautiful clear blue skies and sunny afternoons.
 
This is the view from our niece's apartment, where we are staying. It's been lovely reuniting with family and great to be celebrating the New Year with them. This holiday is laden with traditions and it was fun to learn about and take part in them.

Everywhere people were rushing about getting ready for the New Year festivities. Nearly everyone seemed to be carrying flowers and there's something about streets filled with random people, young and old, male and female, all carrying bunches of red gladiolas, bowls of daffodils. or branches of blossoming cherry blossoms, that gladdens the heart.

On New Year's Eve we went to the nearby flower market.
 
On the way there, I stopped to take a photo of this bamboo scaffolding that is used in construction in China. It just amazes me how this is just lengths of bamboo lashed together with twine, yet it covers this skyscraper. My awe greatly amused my in-laws who, I'm sure, think I'm quite crazy. That's something they have in common with most people who know me!

Most of the plants that are gifted at New Year are chosen because their names sound similar to words such as abundance, wealth, luck and good health, like these citrus trees. They can be kumquats or mandarins it seems and all the businesses have them at their doors.

I couldn't figure out what these were called or why they were so auspicious, but they were very popular.
I'm guessing the the word for daffodils sounds like something prosperous or the color yellow symbolizes gold and therefore wealth.
 
These decorations are on all the doorways. Firecrackers and fireworks play a big part of the celebrations. However, the first night we were here, we heard some fireworks go off at 4.30am, scaring the bejaysus out of us - they sounded for all the world like heavy artillery. Maybe having watched the movie No Escape recently had us on edge! My in-laws slept through it and didn't hear a thing.

We stumbled upon a Lion dance on New Years Eve in the local shopping  mall.
video

The food is amazing! This is my new favorite - warm sweet dumplings in a sweet ginger syrup. The sesame-seed ones my sister-in-law makes are the best!

恭禧發財

Gung Hay Fat Choy to you all.

Byddi Lee

 

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