Chinese New Year 2013: Year of the Snake

I stayed in town this Chinese New Year for a little stay-cation. Great to catch up on sleep and further explore Hong Kong. I am attempting to set new years resolutions and keep them. My main one- try new things! This is a collection of photos from my time off.

Chinese New Year is the biggest of all the Chinese holidays. It is like Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years all rolled into one. Because the Chinese calendar is lunisolar, it is also referred to as the Lunar New Year. And because of this, it falls a slightly different day each year, between January 21 and February 20.

2013 marks the year of the Snake, the Water Snake to be exact. Water Snakes are lucky with finances; they always seem to have money flowing their way. They are adventurous, creative, intelligent and love to take risks. Water Snakes love to socialize and meet new friends. They are proud of their achievements, and also very thoughtful and considerate of others. However, the Black Snake will bring people unexpected changes and instability. That is why it is important in the year of Snake to plan everything beforehand, and evaluate adequately before taking any actions.

There is a reason for the order of the 12 animals in the 12 year cycle. The story goes that a race was held to cross a great river, and the order of the animals in the cycle was based upon their order in finishing the race. In this story, the snake compensated for not being the best swimmer by hitching a hidden ride on the horses hoof, and when the horse was just about to cross the finish line, jumping out, scaring the horse, and thus edging it out for sixth place. Sneaky little guy.

Walking around Wanchai market. Bright red colors are believed to scare off evil spirits and gold to bring fortune.

It is traditional to decorate with live blooming plants. These symbolize rebirth and new growth. Flowers are believed to be symbolic of wealth and high positions in one's career. It is extra lucky if the plants you have blooms on New Year's Day, for that foretells a year of prosperity. Other highly prized flowers are the pussy willow, azalea, peony and narcissus.

Chinese peonies

Quince trees 

The kumquat trees are everywhere. Kumquats with leaves intact assure that one's relationship with the other remains secure. For newlyweds, this represents the branching of the couple into a family with children. Oranges, kumquats and tangerines are all considered symbols for abundant happiness.

Budding Narcissus- see blooming ones below for full description

I can't remember what these are called but they also have to do with family, I think about bringing generations together or something to that effect.

Cute gold covered fish at 7-11

Decorations outside the entrance at my building

Firecrackers- their loud sound is thought to scare away evil spirits. These are hung outside basically every building in Hong Kong, both commercial and residential buildings.

These Quince trees/ branches are in almost all entryways as well. They might be my favorite of the CNY decorations. These are sold almost like Christmas trees at Christmas in N. America. The Chinese believe that blossoming flowers will bring prosperity, therefore considerable care is taken in choosing the right tree, so that as many of the buds as possible will bloom on New Year’s day. 

Festive store window

Nike ad joining in on the celebration

Victoria Park Market- this was listed as a thing to do if you stayed in town. Never again. So many people and they were just buying junk. Not sure what the fuss is all about. 

And this guy

The only redeeming quality was that there was large section selling flowers. Dahlias are used a lot in the decorations. Couldn't find their exact meaning, but I am sure it is like all the rest- prosperity, family, good fortune..

Narcissus- these symbolize prosperity- what else. I did buy some of these for my flat. Their sweet fragrance makes the room smell so nice

A quick dinner with friends- no reservations needed anywhere in town as the city clears out.  Here is Matt ordering his girlie drink.


We trucked out to the middle of no where to go to this beer place called Biere von Irene. Matt had been here before and wanted all of us to check it out. Turns out they didn't open until 5:30 that day, but we managed to do some exploring before coming back for a few pints. Great beer selection! Fun thing to do outside of the city. Sorry I didn't take more pics!

This sign means warm beer. Yes, I asked and confirmed that is what it really means. Hmm. Guess they never got the tap the Rockies message.

Is that a baby in there? No, it is a lap dog. Lord.

Hiking in Lamma Island. Not so much of a hike, but another fun place to go. 30 Minute ferry ride from Central Pier 4. Eat at Rainbow Seafood restaurant and you can get a free ferry ride.

On the boat heading back to Central

To a year of new adventures in 2013- Kung Hei Fat Choy!!!

Biere von Irene
Shop 17B, 7-25 Yau San St.
Yuen Long, Hong Kong
+852 2477 0166 

Rainbow Seafood Restaurant 
23-25 First St., Sok Kwu Wan 
Lamma Island, Hong Kong
+852 2982-8100


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