Hong Kong Super Fans celebrate the Chinese New Year through virtual tour

  • Hong Kong virtual tour: Lockdown? No problem! Enjoy Fai chun making, flower market hopping, customs of Guanyin Loan-granting Day and more from the comfort of your homes as Hong Kong invites its Super Fans to tour the city virtually amid Chinese New Year 2021 festivities in the Year of The Ox
Hong Kong Super Fans celebrate the Chinese New Year through virtual tour(Hong Kong Tourism Board)
Hong Kong Super Fans celebrate the Chinese New Year through virtual tour(Hong Kong Tourism Board)
Updated on Feb 10, 2021 01:25 PM IST
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By Zarafshan Shiraz

The Hong Kong Tourism Board organised a virtual tour to ring in the Chinese New Year which is the Year of The Ox this time. As the very first ‘Super Fans’ of Hong Kong, we sat in the comfort of our homes and connected digitally from Asia, Australia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and America to stroll through the charismatic neighbourhood of Old Town Central and experience the cherished traditions while checking out florists, calligraphy flags, traditional cuisines for the Chinese New Year and shops for their auspicious essentials.

A “Good Fortune Bag” carrying some of these auspicious essentials including lucky ornaments, festive snacks, Fai chun and more, was already delivered to us by the organisers which drummed up the holiday spirit ahead of the virtual tour. Though the Covid-19 pandemic dampened the yearly festivities, the virtual tour accelerated promotional efforts for tourism by globally engaging with travel enthusiasts.

The tour began with a visit to the city’s renowned flower market in Prince Edward, Kowloon, where seasonal flowers and plants symbolising varied good wishes can be bought. While the Chinese sacred lilly is believed to bring prosperity to the whole family, walking around a peach blossom tree three times in clockwise motion is considered to land you with romance.

As per the traditions, walking around a peach blossom tree three times in clockwise motion is considered to land you with romance(Courtesy of Virginia Chan, Hong Kong Tourism Board)
As per the traditions, walking around a peach blossom tree three times in clockwise motion is considered to land you with romance(Courtesy of Virginia Chan, Hong Kong Tourism Board)

Paying respect to the deities and praying for health and prosperity in the coming year was up next as the tour guide flaunted some of the architecturally beautiful and brightly decorated shrines of Hong Kong. Guanyin Loan-granting Day is another important custom among locals in Hong Kong which falls on the 26th day of the first lunar month every year.

Traditionally, the steps involved in borrowing money from Guanyin are similar to those required to worship her. In general, worshippers have to prepare fresh fruits of five or six colours.(Hong Kong Tourism Board)
Traditionally, the steps involved in borrowing money from Guanyin are similar to those required to worship her. In general, worshippers have to prepare fresh fruits of five or six colours.(Hong Kong Tourism Board)

The custom originated from the Guanyin Temple on Tai Ping Shan Street in Sheung Wan and witnesses fervent worshippers flocking to the Guanyin temples and praying for desired amount of “money” from Guanyin which may bring them fortune and wealth in the coming year. Upon entering the temple, they have to give their offerings and can then secure “loans” from Guanyin through making an incense offering, a lucky draw of red paper bearing the amount of money and a “star token of wealth”.

The loan repayment process completes with the tickets burnt and a loud bang on the big drum.(Hong Kong Tourism Board)
The loan repayment process completes with the tickets burnt and a loud bang on the big drum.(Hong Kong Tourism Board)

These loans from Guanyin have to be returned at year end and believers need to buy repayment ticket according to the amount they wish to borrow during the loan repayment process. The lanes of Hong Kong were adorned with red flags carrying Chinese calligraphy.

These are called Fai chun which is a traditional decoration hung on doors or walls to bring good luck and prosperity. Giving a wide-angled sight of the Fai-chun decorated street, the camera then turned towards Dane Cheng who is the Executive Director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board and was referred to as “master of calligraphy.”

Fai chun is a traditional decoration hung on doors or walls to bring good luck and prosperity(Hong Kong Tourism Board)
Fai chun is a traditional decoration hung on doors or walls to bring good luck and prosperity(Hong Kong Tourism Board)

Greeting the Super Fans, Dang Cheng dipped the calligraphy brush in blank ink and gave a glimpse of his painting skills as he prepared a beautiful Fai chun on spot. The Super Fans were next educated about the “Kitchen God” who is believed to protect the family’s health.

He is believed to love sweets and can be bribed with a Chinese New Year candy box that is filled with traditional snacks and pickled food.

Yiu Fung x Papery CNY Candy Box(Hong Kong Tourism Board)
Yiu Fung x Papery CNY Candy Box(Hong Kong Tourism Board)

The much-awaited candy store visit came next as the tour guides gave a thorough visual of traditional snack store Yiu Fung which has partnered with creative printing company Papery to pack its most popular classic snacks into a beautifully designed CNY candy box. The box features a pop-up tangerine plant which is a symbol of good luck in Chinese tradition.

Brimming with energy, Hong Kong looked high on festive activities even as it maintains social distancing amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The perks enjoyed through the global fan-engagement programme, “Hong Kong Super Fans”, is enough proof of re-boosting Hong Kong’s tourism industry and accelerating its recovery plan once borders reopen.

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Monday, October 18, 2021