One month down, three more to go! It has been a great learning experience and adventure for the past month. I have done so much and have learned so much from the people around me and from Hong Kong. But, the adventure is not done yet! There is so much more to learn and conquer here and around Asia. For the first week of October, there were two major holidays that was celebrated throughout Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau. The two holidays were National Day and the Mid-Autumn Festival. During both days, there were many celebrations and festivals happening around Hong Kong that my friends and I attended.
On October 1st, there was a huge celebration for National Day, which celebrates for formation of the People’s Republic of China. There were lanterns set up around Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) for people to view and different street performances. Since it was a national holiday, they had a spectacular firework show over Victoria Harbor. The area was so crowded and the MTR was packed. The police and MTR Corporation shut down some of the walkways and entrances to keep the flow of people centralized. We went to TST as early as we could, but just like 4th of July, people arrived very early to wait for the fireworks. By the time we arrived, there were already a huge crowd and it was hard to get a good spot to see.
When the fireworks were about to begin, it started to rain really hard and it got a little crazy because not everyone in the crowd had umbrellas. Once the rain stopped, the fireworks started. They were great! Everyone had a great time and it was beautiful. Jessica told us that Mainland China has the best fireworks for New Year’s, but I won’t be able to go to Mainland China to see them. The National Day celebration was great and I enjoyed it so much!
On October 4th, we went out to Tai Hang, Causeway Bay to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival and see the Fire Dragon Dance. The festival was held for 3 days to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival. Each night there were different shows going on in the park including cultural dances, songs, and lantern displays. Local artists and craftsmen were at the festival to sell their pieces to the public. There was a display of lanterns done by local elementary and middle school students for people to view.
The celebration is similar to Thanksgiving back in the States, where people sit down for meals with each other and give thanks for what they have and what is to come. While we were in the park, we added our wishes and hopes during the celebration and enjoyed each others’ company. We were told that we had to eat a mooncake for good luck, so we ate one of the traditional ones that Jess’s cousin from Mainland China brought for her when she came to visit.
Celebrating the two Chinese holidays was great! I learned about each and why they were significant to the Chinese culture. Just like back home holidays bring people together to celebrate and enjoy each other’s company. Being able to enjoy them as an exchange student is really important to the experience because then you are fully involved in the culture.