Hong Kong Public Holidays (in 2019 & 2020)

Hong Kong Public Holidays 2019

  • New Year's Day: 1 January, Tuesday

  • Chinese / Lunar New Year: 5 February, Tuesday

  • The 3rd Day of Chinese / Lunar New Year: 6 February, Wednesday

  • The 3rd Day of Chinese / Lunar New Year: 7 February, Thursday

  • Ching Ming Festival: 5 April, Saturday

  • Good Friday: 19 April, Friday

  • The Day Following Good Friday: 20 April, Saturday

  • Easter Monday: 22 April, Monday

  • Labor Day: 1 May, Wednesday

  • Buddha's Birthday (Holiday): 13 May, Monday

  • Dragon Boat / Tuen Ng Festival: 7 June, Friday

  • HKSAR Establishment Day: 1 July, Monday

  • The Day Following Mid-autumn Festival: 14 September, Saturday

  • National Day (of PRC): 1 July, Tuesday

  • Chung Yeung Festival Holiday: 7 October, Monday

  • Christmas Day: 25 December, Wednesday

  • Boxing Day: 26 December, Thursday




Hong Kong Public Holidays 2020

  • New Year's Day: 1 January, Wednesday

  • Chinese / Lunar New Year: 25 January, Saturday

  • The 3rd Day of Chinese / Lunar New Year: 27 January, Monday

  • The 4th Day of Chinese / Lunar New Year: 28 January, Tuesday

  • Ching Ming Festival: 4 April, Saturday

  • Good Friday: 10 April, Friday

  • The Day Following Good Friday: 11 April, Saturday

  • Easter Monday: 13 April, Monday

  • Buddha's Birthday: 30 April, Thursday

  • Labor Day: 1 May, Friday

  • Dragon Boat / Tuen Ng Festival: 25 June, Thursday

  • HKSAR Establishment Day: 1 July, Wednesday

  • National Day (of PRC): 1 July, Thursday

  • The Day Following Mid-autumn Festival: 2 October, Friday

  • Chung Yeung Festival Holiday: 26 October, Monday

  • Christmas Day: 25 December, Friday

  • Boxing Day: 26 December, Saturday




Ching Ming Festival

Ching Ming Festival is a special Chinese day for the remembrance of ancestors.

Ching Ming Festival falls in the third lunar month of the Chinese calendar, which is usually in the first week of April in the Gregorian calendar. The festival is very ancient, dating back in Chinese history around 2,500 years.

Ching Ming is known by other names also, for example: Festival for Tending Graves, Clear Bright Festival and Tomb Sweeping Day.

These names quite accurately describe the theme of the Ching Ming Festival. It is the day, and often the only day each year, when many families visit the graves and tombs of their ancestors. During the visit, they tidy the headstones, clean away grass and weeds, light incense and make burnt offerings, often of fake money but sometimes of paper effigies resembling valuable items.

Food offerings are also made. The ceremony surrounding these involves the number three. Three bowls are often laid out with a set of chopsticks for each. The head of the family pours out wine on the grave then family members take turns to bow three times each to the headstone with their hands held together in a particular way. Following this, the food is shared together by the family in honour of the ancestor.

Some people are less traditional and do not go to the ancestors’ tombs on Ching Ming. Another tradition for this day is to fly kites and many couples begin their courting on Ching Ming.

It is not only in Hong Kong that Ching Ming is recognised. Chinese people all around the world use this day to remember their family ancestors, whether at a local tomb if there is one, or with a simple day of respect.

Ching Ming is the first of the 24 annual ‘solar terms’ recognised by the lunisolar calendar, being at the 15-degree mark of the path of the sun each year. This is the first point after the vernal equinox.



Buddha's Birthday

Buddha’s Birthday is celebrated on the eighth day of the fourth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, during April in the Gregorian calendar. It has been observed as a holiday in Hong Kong since Britain returned to rule of Hong Kong to China in 1997.

In Hong Kong, devotees of Buddha visit temples especially the great Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island. This monastery is about one-and-a-half hours from Hong Kong and is accessible by car as well as serviced buses, cable cars and ferries. People also pay homage at the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery at Sha Tin – which is not really a monastery as there are no resident monks.

Po Lin Monastery holds the world’s tallest, outdoor, seated, bronze Buddha statue, and this makes it a destination for followers and also a major tourist attraction.

The key ceremony across much of Buddhism on this day is the bathing of small statues of Buddha to honour of the belief that, as a baby, Buddha’s body was sprayed with water from nine dragons.

Hong Kong also holds other events on this holiday. The Cheung Chau Bun Festival of Floating Colours has its origins in a ritual held to protect fishermen from pirates. This festival lasts for seven days and includes, on Buddha’s Birthday, a parade of floats and musicians and is held on the island of Cheung Chau.

Buddha’s Birthday is a public holiday but tourist attractions, restaurants, public transport and shops will all be open and operating. There will be large crowds everywhere so be sure to plan well ahead.



Dragon Boat / Tuen Ng Festival

Tuen Ng is the Cantonese name of the festival that is known elsewhere as the Duanwu Festival.

Duanwu means ‘double fifth’ because Tuen Ng occurs on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month in the Chinese calendar.

Tuen Ng is also called the Dragon Boat Festival and it’s the astounding time when the waterways around Hong Kong come to life with dragon boats competing against each other and myriads of decorated junks and other watercraft. Teams even come from overseas to compete.

The dragon boats are built in the shape of massive war canoes. They vary in size and have crews from 20 to 80 people, which often now include teams of women. The crew paddles according to the thunder of the drummer who sits in the middle of the boat and beats on a drum.

The ‘support crowd’ on the shores and in watercraft alongside also joins in the noise. From the moment of the starter’s gun, cheers and loud banging of cymbals (believed to ward off evil spirits) deafen those nearby.

There are usually several dragon boat races during Tuen Ng. These sometimes change location from one year to the next but Victoria Harbour, Stanley Village and Tai Po are popular locations.

The holiday is also a celebration of the Goddess of Heaven who takes care of fishermen. It is assumed, naturally, that the goddess will also take care of the dragon boat racers.

Wonderful food is a necessary feature of Tuen Ng with the popular rice dumplings, zongzi (ch’un tse in Cantonese or tsung tzu in Mandarin), being sold at food stalls around Hong Kong. The dumplings are washed down with beer or realgar wine. Food markets are everywhere and music and live entertainment fills the air with an atmosphere of excitement.

Tuen Ng Festival is more than 2000 years old and is marked with a public holiday in Hong Kong. It became a holiday in mainland China in 2005.



Mid Autumn Festival

During the full moon on the fifteenth day of the eighth month of the Chinese calendar, Hong Kong celebrates the Mid Autumn Festival.

In the Gregorian calendar, this occurs in either September or October. In Hong Kong, the day after the festival is a public holiday.

This is a harvest festival that has its history dating back over 3,000 years to the Shang Dynasty when people thanked the moon god for the harvest. It is still a time of giving thanks. The Mid Autumn Festival is a time for families to spend special time together, and for prayer where people pray their specific requests.

The festival runs for a week and, during that time, Hong Kong is transformed into a show of sound, colour and light. Lanterns are everywhere, from ancient style, modern and paper and children are captivated by the fun lanterns they are given.

One of the best shows to watch is the lion dance, which is put on in many locations across Hong Kong. The lion dance involves two people dressed in a stunning costume doing amazing feats of balance and dance.

To be a part of the atmosphere, some of the most popular places to visit are Causeway Bay, Victoria Park and Victoria Harbour but many towns and villages put on special shows too.

The most popular treats that everyone eats too much of are the moon cakes and is why the festival is known to some as the Moon Cake Festival. Others refer to it as the Lantern Festival.

A special delicacy for Mid Autumn Festival is the hairy crab, which is only in season for a few months from September. The male hairy crab, unusually, is in high demand, rather than the female of other varieties and is an expensive menu item at many restaurants during the festival. Hairy crab is often accompanied by Chinese wines or ginger tea.



Chung Yeung Festival

Hong Kong’s Chung Yeung Festival is a special day of ancestor memorials.

According to the Chinese lunar calendar, this day falls on the ninth day of the ninth month. This is around early to mid-October in the western Gregorian calendar. It is a similar memorial day to Ching Ming and is commemorated in Hong Kong, China and Taiwan.

On Chung Yeung, families climb the hills to visit the graves of their ancestors. It has been a tradition for over 2000 years and came into being because Jing Huan, on the advice of a wise man, took his family into the mountains to visit his ancestors’ graves. Because he was away from his village, the family survived a mass slaughter of all in his village. Other legends also exist about the origin of Chung Yeung.

Today, it is a day of memorial. It is also a day of outings, family gatherings and picnics. Unfortunately, due to the large number of people going to the hills to visit graves, to offer burnt offerings and to have picnics, there is a higher incidence of hill fires getting out of control, even now when there are additional fireproof bins for hot ashes. Please be careful.

If Chung Yeung falls on a weekend, the following weekday is a public holiday. Chung Yeung is a day when tourist attractions, shops, restaurants and markets are open and in full swing. These are very crowded, especially if the date is on a Sunday, which is always busy in its own right.

Another fun tradition at Chung Yeung is the flying of kites. This is a source of entertainment for young families but has its roots in the sweeping aloft of bad luck. Many believe that bad luck will leave on the kite and not return to the earth.

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