Autumn is often a busy time in Hong Kong as several traditional and political holidays all occur within a few weeks of each other. This year is particularly busy, as the lunar calendar dictates that in 2017, four national holidays take place in the month of October.
Read on to find out more and make sure to put these in your diary.
Although separate from the Mainland in some respects, Hong Kong is still recognised as a part of the far larger People's Republic of China. As such, the smaller state joins in with the same patriotic festivities each year.
October 1, sees the anniversary celebration of the formation of the modern People's Republic. The founding of the PRC initially occurred on September 21st, but the date for celebration has since been set to October 1st.
Usually, around this time of year, workers will enjoy more than one holiday in a row, and sometimes as many as seven as the traditional Golden Week gets underway. This is at the discretion of employers, however, although the three-day holiday is officially observed.
In 2017, the traditional National Day of October 1st falls on a Sunday. This will still be observed as a holiday, but festivities and parades will be carried over to Monday October 2nd. It is usual for National Day holidays and celebrations to continue into the second and third days, but this year will be different as the second day will be its focal point.
Mid-Autumn Festival has long been a part of the culture of Chinese communities throughout the world. As a result, it is routinely observed across China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, and down into Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia. It is also a major celebration in the smaller Chinese enclaves, which are found all over the planet.
The origins of the festival relate to traditional thanksgiving ceremonies for bountiful harvests and also to the importance of the moon and the lunar cycle to ancient Chinese culture. There is also an interesting piece of mythology linked to the event, regarding a hero named Hou Yi and his wife Chang'e, the latter of whom was forced to drink an elixir of immortality which took her away from her husband.
The modern Mid-Autumn Festival involves the hanging up of lanterns and the consumption of small, circular treats known as mooncakes. As celebrations often take place at night (particularly in Hong Kong) and involve the drinking of 'reunion wine', the public holiday in Hong Kong is held on the day after Mid-Autumn Festival. Expect to work on the actual festival day and then receive a holiday on the day which follows it, which in this case is October 5th.
Early October brings something of a flurry of public holidays for Hong Kong residents, particularly in 2017 when the lunar calendar brings the National Day Golden Week and Mid-Autumn Festival almost into direct contact.
However, after this point we only need to wait a couple of weeks or so before the next one, which is Chung Yeung festival, held on October 28th.
Chung Yeung is the ninth day of the ninth lunar month in the traditional calendar. It is celebrated across Hong Kong and China, and also in Japan, albeit in a slightly different manner. Driving away evil spirits and making peace with deceased ancestors are two of the main elements of this holiday.
Traditionally, observers will climb mountains, drink special drinks, and wear dogwood wreathes to perform cleansing actions on their souls.