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 September 11, 2013
Hong Kong Celebrates Autumn Events

 The sultry days of summer are coming to an end, and in Hong Kong that means excitement is mounting for the coming autumn festivities, events that celebrate Chinese culture and heritage combined with Western traditions together with some of the world's best wine and food ... from all over the world!

The Hong Kong Mid-Autumn Festival starts the celebrations, which runs from 14 to 22 September. For most of those days, the cosmopolitan region of Hong Kong is transformed by lanterns as young and old gather to celebrate the harvest and gaze at the full moon. This festival is centuries old, yet its appeal has never faded and every year more and more visitors come to share the magic in various locations around the region. Victoria Park is renowned as a gathering place for those celebrating. There, 'one2free Lantern Wonderland' will feature a three-storey high lantern, constructed with 7,000 recycled plastic bottles designed by four young & energetic architectural designers. And here and all over the region, people will light their own lanterns and enjoy these fabulous light shows, accompanied by music.

Different areas of Victoria Park will be linked by the Wishing Corridor, a walkway illuminated by yet more lanterns designed for wish making, while nearby booths will sell festive foods, local delicacies and special souvenirs. The night of 19 September will be a highlight as that is the date the legendary Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance Parade will make a special appearance in Victoria Park. Other Dragon Dance parades will take place in Tai Hang and Pok Fu Lam Village, so nobody need miss these noisy, thrilling events.

Not long after the lanterns have been extinguished, it will be time for more fun and games as Halloween excitement kicks off on 1 October and continues all through the month until the spooky night itself. This is not a Chinese-style festival (it is thought Halloween dates back to the Celts of the United Kingdom and Ireland, who believed the dead returned to earth on the night before All Saints Day) but Hong Kong is among the world's best locations for celebrating this event. Yes, the Halloween 'buzz' permeates the city for the whole month, as attractions, restaurants, hotels and shops vie with each other to have the best decorations. Visitors to Hong Kong at this time will be invited to join a wide range of 'spook-tacular' activities including Halloween-themed events, carnivals, shows and, of course, parties. Dressing-up not essential but encouraged!

Ocean Park will be home to a wonderful display of pumpkins which can be enjoyed before or after some of the parks really scary rides and adventures that carry names such as the Murder Factory and Monster Party. Madame Tussauds will mark the occasion with terrifying fun called SCREAM and Run for Your Life while over at Disney visitors will be challenged to last an entire hair-raising visit without screaming. With the exhilarating RC Racer, the frightening Principal Graves at the Graves Academy or the catapulting Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars, it's going to be a difficult challenge to meet.

As well as the spooky offerings at the region's attractions, there will be street parties and parades throughout the region. Shopping malls will be decorated and offer a variety of activities for all ages, while restaurants will offer Halloween-themed dishes and drinks. and the mobile HongKong.AR app promotion "What's On" will have all the many details of Hong Kong's Halloween festivities.

As October slides into November yet more Festivals will be launched, as November sees the arrival of the Hong Kong Wine and Dine Festival and the Hong Kong Wine and Dine Month. Organized by the HKTB, the Wine and Dine Festival has received worldwide recognition since its inauguration in 2009, when it was named by Forbes as one of the top 10 international food and wine festivals in that year. This year, with support from the Hong Kong SAR Government, the festival will be held at a brand new venue -- the New Central Harbourfront -- where the festival will kick off the Wine and Dine Month which will feature an amazing array of wine and dine experiences as well as fabulous offers.
Thus both the Festival and the ensuing month will provide visitors and local residents alike with a culinary experience that will assure everyone that Hong Kong is indeed the 'Culinary Capital of Asia'. There will be live music and entertainments, wine and food tastings, tours and cooking classes and festival menus in many of the region's great restaurants. Everyone who loves good food and wines will want to be there.

And then comes the 'down side' to all that food and wine. A few extra pounds! Time to get out and about and have some exercise. That's where 2013 Great Outdoors Hong Kong comes in ... a chance to enjoy Hong Kong's many green and wonderful spaces on foot or bicycle. From November to February 'green lovers' will be encouraged to enjoy a variety of guided activities in some beautiful places: the Peak, Dragon's Back, Geopark, Lion's Rock Mountain and many more. Each trail is designed as 'Easy', 'Fairly Easy', 'Moderately Difficult' or 'Difficult', making it easy for everyone is get involved. Transportation will be provided to distant trails and literature about these events can be found at Ports of Entry and at HKTB Visitor Information Centres as well as on line.

There's so much to see and do in Autumn in Hong Kong. Throughout the period, Canadian travellers can take advantage of a wide range of holiday packages offered by a variety of specialist tour operators.