Saturday, December 21, 2013
Mellow and Special decorations (This week's Photo Hunt themes)
This is the time of the year when many people get to thinking of upcoming holidays. For Christians, there's Christmas on December 25 (and for some parts of the world, the associated Boxing Day the day after). And after that, there's the first day of the new year to celebrate -- or, rather, the new years since in places like Hong Kong, January 1 is a public holiday but so too is the lunar new year (commonly known here, understandably, as Chinese New Year even though it's also celebrated by such as the Vietnamese).
Both during the Christmas and Chinese New Year period, Hong Kong sees much inbound and outbound activity. To be honest, I find it strange that many tourists decide that these are the ideal times of the year to visit this part of the world because it's actually when I often find Hong Kong to be at its most quiet and, well, mellow since, from what I can see, many Hong Kongers tend to jet off somewhere over Christmas themselves while Chinese New Year is a much more family -- and private-- affair here than in, say, Malaysia, with its inclusive "Open House" tradition and celebrations.
For my part, my main celebratory activities at Christmas and Chinese New Year in Hong Kong involves going hiking with friends. For example, on the first day of Chinese New Year this year, a friend and I hiked up Sunset Peak (Hong Kong's highest peak at 869 meters above sea level). And while some of my fellow participants in Sandi's and Gattina's Photo Hunts may not consider this a mellow type of activity, I certainly do consider it a good deal more pleasant and definitely less noisy than, say, going out partying on the streets of Lan Kwai Fong!
Up on Sunset Peak that day, I spotted a clump of Chinese New Year flowers. Now considered rare in the wild, they used to be sold at flower markets as special decorations for Chinese New Year. These days, however, those looking to decorate their homes during this festive time of the year have to go for brighter -- and frankly, often more garish -- items. In some ways, this is a great pity -- but this way, it sure does make Chinese New Year flower spottings to feel special, and all the more so when they're spotted on the first day of Chinese New Year day itself! :b