Exciting Cultural and Arts Events Are Coming to Hong Kong
There will be parades and marching bands, towering floats and a symphony of lights, dancers and acrobats, excited crowds and the throwing of beads, and finally soaring fireworks lighting up the sky and the harbour. Yes, the Chinese New Year approaches and once again Hong Kong prepares for the party.
It all starts with the now-famous Illuminated Night Parade, a favourite festive event among Hong Kong residents and visitors since 1996. Since that year the event has received worldwide recognition: in 2011Forbes declared the Hong Kong celebrations as one of the ’10 Best Events of the Year’ and the Lonely Planet Bluelist of 2007 selected the parade as ‘one of the best value entertainments around the world’.
And it’s all due to happen again as Hong Kong, Asia’s World City, prepares to welcome the new year on the first evening of the Year of the Sheep – 19th February – with the theme ‘Sweet 20 – World Party’. The event is organized by the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) and title-sponsored for the 17th year by Cathay Pacific Airways. Once again, enormous floats with elaborate decorations and colourful illuminations will light up the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui. In addition to the floats, cheerleaders, dance troupes, roving costumed characters and thousands of musicians in marching bands will accompany the Year of the Sheep mascot past the excited crowds.
The Opening Ceremony will take place in the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza, harbourside in Tsim Sha Tsui. Tickets are available for the Opening Ceremony, while those who prefer to watch from Hong Kong’s vibrant streets can do so for free. And after the event, the fabulous floats will be on display at Lam Tsuen in Tai Po from 20th February to 1st March. At night the floats will once again be brilliantly illuminated, providing visitors with wonderful photo opportunities and fantastic memories. There will also be colourful stage performances by international performing groups at various locations around town on 20th and 21stFebruary. All in all, it’s one of best times to be in Hong Kong.
And once that party is over it will be time for an avalanche of arts events to commence. The month-long Hong Kong Arts Festival, which started in 1973, has become one of the highlights of the city’s cultural calendar. This year it is due to start on 27th February with a highly-varied programme offering over 130 performances of music, theatre and dance.
The festival celebrates the saying that “all the world’s a stage”. Headliners include the Zhejiang Xiaobaihua Yue Opera Troupe from China, Russia’s Bolshoi Ballet, flamenco dancers from Spain, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, and Ireland’s Gate Theatre with their adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Locals will shine too, with musical extravaganzas such as the Hong Kong Story Concert.
“Great performances have a wonderfully humanising influence,” says Tisa Ho, the festival’s Executive Director and one of Hong Kong’s most passionate arts advocates. “They release us from everyday life to reconnect with a self that is more vibrantly aware, more centred and at peace; allowing us to be more in tune with fundamental human values shared across different convictions and beliefs.”
During this great month of performances, the week-long Hong Kong Arts Festival – now in its 43rd edition – and Art Basel Hong Kong will take place from 13th March. This year this major arts event will be joined by a new expo called Art Central, turning Asia’s most exciting city into a thriving arts mecca. Art Central is the first satellite fair of international standards to be staged in Hong Kong. It will take place from 14th to 16thMarch 2015 and is timed to complement Art Basel and the growing popularity of Hong Kong Art Week, positioning the city firmly as one of the world’s leading art hubs.
Artists, dealers, curators, as well as art-loving residents and visitors will come together to get a first-hand idea of what’s hot in the arts world. Ground-breaking Art Central will debut in a specially-built,10,000 square metre pavilion on Hong Kong Island’s waterfront, close to the Star Ferry and the newly-opened Observation Wheel. This enviable location on Victoria Harbour will make a bold statement on the Hong Kong skyline. The expo will feature more than 70 galleries from around the region and further afield, and will present contemporary work from established artists as well as a range of new talent. Art Central has also devised a special section entitled Rise which will celebrate both solo and dual artist presentations from spaces opened in the last five years.
Parades, fireworks, the performing arts and collectible arts … all are coming to Hong Kong in the weeks ahead, making some wonderful reasons to visit the city that celebrates art and culture in so many forms.