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New Year events

February 23, 2007

Well, the official new year holiday is over and things are basically back to (what constitutes) normal in Hong Kong. According to the news, on the last day of the holiday approximately 450,000 people returned to HK – in one day! I am so glad I wasn’t travelling on that day.

I mentioned in my last post that I was heading out to a New Year Eve dinner. I went, I ate (far too much), I needed to be rolled out the door. Holiday dinners are evidently the same all over the world. People get together and stuff themselves silly. The dinner itself was, what they would call in Japanese, nabe. Basically everything is put in one pot cooked on a burner in the middle of the table and then everyone just helps themselves from the pot. As it gets emptied, it just keeps getting refilled. I even got to walk away with a couple of lai see, the red packets of lucky money.

red packet
Next day (New Year’s day) I made my way to a couple of the more famous temples in the local area. They were crazy and certainly reminded me of the new year days I have spent in Japan going to shrines. The one difference is that in HK, they burn a lot more of the joss sticks of incense. I smelled like a campfire by the end of the day. Not an altogether unpleasant smell but murder on the eyes. The folks who were working the shrines/temples all wore masks and goggles for protection.

Wong Tai Sin

Wong Tai Sin 2

Make a wish

There’s also a ‘wishing tree’ that people used to toss offerings into. It’s a huge banyan tree that’s well over 100 years old. Throwing votives is no longer allowed because the tree has been slowly dying due to the strain. Attempts to revive it are being made but apparently it’s still not doing well. Would be a shame if it died. I noticed that some people have started throwing things into a different tree about 100 metres away from the original. I guess some people don’t learn.

Wishing tree

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