Hong Kong Holidays
Hong Kong officially has a 5-day working week, with a lot of pubic Hong Kong holidays! As you can see from the list below, most public Hong Kong holidays are lunar-based, so the dates are not fixed. To see the dates these holidays fall on, please see the link on the HK Government website. Scroll down for information on what these festivals mean and information on associated events. Also look at the Festivals & Events section on the Leisure page.
Hong Kong Holidays – General
Every Sunday is included in the following list of ‘General Holidays’ as mandated by the Kong Kong government, as this is the official day of for domestic helpers.
The first day of January – 1 January
The day preceding Lunar New Year’s Day – varies (usually end of January/February)*
The second day of the Lunar New Year 15 February – varies (usually end of January/February)*
The third day of the Lunar New Year 16 February – varies (usually end of January/February)*
Good Friday 2 April – varies (end March/April)
The day following Good Friday 3 April – varies (end March/April)
Easter Monday – varies (end March/April)
The day following Ching Ming Festival – varies (early April)
Labour Day – 1 May
The Buddha’s Birthday – varies (mid May)
Tuen Ng Festival – varies (mid June)
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day – 1 July
The day following Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival – varies (third week in September)
National Day – 1 October
Chung Yeung Festival – varies (mid October)
Christmas Day – 25 December
The first weekday after Christmas Day
Most businesses observe General Hong Kong Holidays, which are in excess of the Statutory Hong Kong Holidays observed by some workers, e.g. Domestic Helpers. The Hong Kong Government publishes the dates of both General Hong Kong Holidays and Statutory Hong Kong Holidays.
*When either Lunar New Year’s Day, the second day of Lunar New Year or the third day of Lunar New Year falls on a Sunday, the fourth day of Lunar New Year is designated as a statutory and general holiday in substitution.
Hong Kong Holidays – Festivals
New Year in Hong Kong is celebrated with a public firework display in the harbour and a public holiday.
Chinese New Year This is the most important holiday in the Chinese lunar calendar. The date varies from late January to February. Each Chinese year is represented by a different animal on a twelve year cycle. Red and gold decorations are put up and Orange trees are sold in the markets. Hong Kong holds a public parade and a dramatic firework display over the harbour. Many workers receive a thirteenth month’s salary bonus payment and workers, unmarried women and children ask for ‘Lai See’, a form of annual tip/gift given in red envelopes. You will be asked for Lai See by being wished ‘Kung Hei Fat Choy’. The cash is always given in crisp new notes, not loose change! Schools are closed and many workers take extended leave, so it is effectively the equivalent of another Christmas break for many companies. Each year will be symbolized by an animal and an element and will have both general influences and ones for you personally, according to Chinese horoscopes.
The Yuen Sui (Spring Lantern) Festival marks the end of Chinese New Year and you will see lanterns on display.
The Ching Ming Festival is a celebration of revered, deceased ancestors. Graves are cleaned and repaired. Graveside food and gifts are offered and fires are lit.
Tin Hau’s Birthday is the birthday of the sea goddess. This is particularly significant in Hong Kong due to it’s seafaring past.
Lord Buddha’s Birthday. Buddhist temples honour the birthday of Lord Buddha.
The Bun Festival, celebrated on the island of Cheung Chau sees processions where children dressed as adults are elevated and paraded through the packed streets. Huge towers covered in lucky buns are erected and climbers compete to collect the highest buns!
Tuen Ng (Dragon Boat) Festival sees boat races across the territory. Boats with dragon’s heads and about twenty oarsmen and a drummer making the pace race against each other at Stanley, Discovery Bay, Shatin and elsewhere.
Yue Lan Hungry Ghost Festival sees offerings made to appease spirits who were not looked after by their families at the time of their death.
Liberation Day in August marks Hong Kong’s liberation from the Japanese.
Seven Sisters Festival is when unmarried girls pray for a good husband.
Mid-Autumn (Moon Cake) Festival celebrates the end of the farming year and a famous revolutionary uprising against the Mongols during the 14th century.
Chung Yeung Festival will again see relatives visiting graves and heading off to high ground. This reflects the legend of a man who saved himself and his family by going to high ground on the advice of a soothsayer. The family returned home the next day to find that everything had been destroyed and that their neighbours were dead.
Christmas in Hong Kong
For the expats who don’t head ‘home’, Christmas in Hong Kong has lots to keep you and the family entertained. Some of our suggestions include:
- Join a Christmas service with carols at at St John’s Cathedral
- Buy a real Christmas tree and stock up on European cheeses from a most unlikely source – Tony the Tailor!
- Visit one of the Christmas attractions such as Winterfest or Ngong Ping 360 Musical Winter Wonderland
- Take a cocktail or pre-dinner cruise, or take the Star Ferry to enjoy the harbour’s Christmas skyline
- Go shopping for gifts in Shenzhen
- Visit Ocean Park or Disneyland. Both theme parks celebrate Christmas in style
- Enjoy the decorations at one of Hong Kong’s top hotels and take in a High Tea
- Visit the shopping malls with their extravagant decorations or go to the Christmas Fairs
- Nominate your very own Santa and invite your friends and their kids to your very own Santa Party! Costumes can be bought in ‘The Lanes’ and eveyone can bring labelled and wrapped presents for their children, for Santa to distribute.
- Go to an English Pantomime
Not all festivals are General or Statutory holidays.