February 8-10 is the festival of the Lunar New Year here in Hong Kong, and each day has a different celebration. The first day is the parade, which runs along a few blocks in the Kowloon side of the city. Lexi and I got there a couple of hours early, and got a decent spot along the end of the parade, and got to see all of the groups and floats go by. Before the parade officially started, many of the groups walked along the parade route and performed for the crowds. Performances ranged from dances and songs to drum routines and athletic displays. It was a lot of fun, and really the only strange thing was that the crowd didn’t seem to enjoy it. Performers would ask for cheers or the crowd to put their hands up, and nobody would do anything! It was weird and felt a bit awkward, but the show itself and the floats were all a lot of fun.
The second day is dedicated to the fireworks show. During the day we just walked around and visited a couple of temples (which were overflowing with incense and smoke) and waited for the fireworks show. Once night fell, the fireworks show began over the harbor. It was amazing! The crowd also seemed to enjoy this particular event, which made it even better. After an incredible fireworks display, we followed the crowds back into the city and went over to the touristy bar area of Lan Kwai Fong. We went to the 7-Eleven to get cheap beer, and walked around for a while watching the crowds and the bars. It’s definitely a fun area! Oh, I also tried some street food for dinner. I just ordered what the guy in front of me ordered, since the vendor didn’t speak English, and I ended up getting curry flavored fish balls. It was… interesting…
Finally, today we went to the horse races. Apparently horse races are big on the last day of the new year celebration, so we decided to check them out. Unfortunately, there are two race courses, and we went to the wrong one on accident. There was still a full crowd gathered and watching the races on large screens, cheering as the horses came down the end of the race and holding onto their bets. I tried out some racetrack food, and we left to go to the right ground.
The right ground ended up being massively more exciting. The whole area was overflowing with people, and everyone starts screaming together as the horses come around for the end of the races. The interior of the stands was filled with spectators placing bets and ordering foods, and the entire event was pretty incredible. Even as someone who has never seen horse racing before, I had a great time watching everything and cheering for the worst horses to make comeback victories.