Gong hey fat choy – Chinese New Year

This year I am lucky to have experienced New Year’s celebrations twice – both of them completely different than anything I’ve experienced before! In Japan I missed the annual fireworks, but today my “loss” was made up in the Hong Kong’s Chinese New Years fireworks spectacle. Yesterday I, along with probably few million others, got to witness the New Year’s parade, and the day before that I was smushed in the crowds in Victoria Park’s market.

Enthusiastic shoppers in Victoria park
Enthusiastic shoppers in Victoria park

The Victoria Park (flower) market resembled the Finnish Vappu (mayday) market quite a lot, except that here you couldn’t really see any of the stalls since there was so many people. The flowers and fruit trees were beautiful, but pretty much everything else on sale was carnival crap. I am glad to have stumbled upon the market on my morning “jog” (which turned to walking and eating in the market area).

The (non-Chinese) carnival spirit
The (non-Chinese) carnival spirit

The Parade in Tsim Sha Tsui was rather popular, to say the least. We were there few hours early, and the streets were already packed. I have to say, that the parade was a slight disappointment, specially after such a long wait. It was interesting, and definitely worth it, but not that “Chinese” since half of the groups were from somewhere else.

Hong Kong Disneyland partying
Hong Kong Disneyland partying

The parade had some interesting costumes and talented performances, so it was nice to see. However, the subway ride afterwards was a “bit” hectic and cramped. It is funny how much I have been in crowds these past few days, although most of the shops and restaurants have been closed and the streets have seemed almost deserted. Almost!

Blasting in the air for 30 mins
Blasting in the air for 30 mins

Today’s fireworks were spectacular, and definitely made up for the ones I missed on our new year. I am not that familiar with the Chinese traditional customs, but I doubt Gagnam style as background music for fireworks has not been that common for celebrations. I wish I knew half as much about the Chinese New Year’s traditions as I know about the Japanese oshougatsu, but this weekend was interesting as it was, everyone was happy and festive and we got an extra day off! Looking forward to the next festival, which seems to be in few weeks!

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4th of July

Great things happened on 4th of July 1776, and many years after that, too. Nowadays the Independence Day is celebrated with barbecues, picnics, fireworks and a hot dog eating contest.

Our first barbecue was at the pool where we served over 200 hot dog buns and hamburgers, as well as two 10 ft. hero-sandwiches. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my camera with me to collect evidence of the fiesta (and the red, white and blue shots that were also served).

The seconds barbecue of the day was a bit more relaxed, if you ignore the happy and playful sounds of seven 5-10 year olds running in a small area.

Typically American: Coke, party cups, hot dogs, corn and Heinz ketchup

As the night got darker, the bugs came out to their feast – on us.

Some people were shooting fireworks even during the day, but the real bombing started after dusk. I settled for the annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks, which was shown on NBC (with tons of commercial breaks to remind us, that even the Independence is not independent of money).

True patriots on tv

The fireworks seemed never ending. I wonder how much money could be used for actually useful purposes if the show was, say, only 15 or 20 minutes long.

Over 20 minutes of fancy fireworks over New York city

Wednesday seemed like a Saturday, so getting a loooong weekend after it seems really odd. More time to figure out what to do (in Merrick).