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


Carver said...

I love the idea of hiking during the holidays. I usually make sure to go on a walk on New Years Day.

magiceye said...

Lovely takes!!

Gattina said...

And in Germany Christmas is celebrated on the 24th evening when the family gathers around the tree, sings Christmas songs (or rather should, we laughed too much) and then open the gifts. The 25th is more an eating binge and rather stressing for the housewife to prepare all that food !

YTSL said...

Hi Carver --

The first time I hiked on a holiday was when I visited a friend who lived in LA over Christmas. Really like the idea and have carried out that practice whenever I've had the opportunity since. :)

Hi magiceye --


Hi Gattina --

Interesting! Thanks for the cultural info! :)

MaR said...

Love that xmas flower! beautiful one. With all relatives abroad, our xmas celebration is a very small one. I still miss the summer atmosphere of my childhood xmas in the Southern Hemisphere. Thanks for your kind comment on my post :)

Happy holidays to you.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps that is why tourists come then - because it is mellow and less chaotic than at busy times. I try and do most of my travel in off-peak time periods (hence my upcoming trip to Amsterdam on January 2nd!)

Have a great weekend!

Annie said...

I hope you have some great hikes (I know you'll take lots of wonderful photos!). Cheers, Annie

Trekcapri said...

Hi YTSL, I also love getting up early News Years Day and going on a walk or hike. I think it is one of the best ways to start the New Year.I love those beautiful flowers in your 2nd photo.

Have a wonderful Holidays and your New Year's Day hike.

YTSL said...

Hi Marcy --

Sorry: correction, it's a Chinese New Year flower, not an Xmas flower! Also, you're originally from somewhere in the Southern hemisphere? Thought you were a native of Spain! :O

Hi JDeQ --

I'd buy that argument -- except that it's the high season in terms of prices! ;b

Hi Annie --

I hope so too -- and thanks for your confidence in me with regards to the pics! :)

Hi Trekcapri --

Happy holidays and hiking to you too. :)

Susan Demeter said...

Hiking sounds like an awesome way to spend Christmas. Weather permitting I may go on a short hike myself. Its good for the soul :)

Great pics!

Sandi @the WhistleStop Cafe said...

I am for anything that makes the holidays more 'mellow'... get away from the race and celebrate the season.
Merry Mellow Christmas~

YTSL said...

Hi Sue --

Hiking's good for the body and spirit too, I find! :)

Hi Sandi --

I think at the end/beginning of the year, some quiet, relaxing time is nice! :)

Bill said...

Hi Yvonne,

The top photo is the one: a perfectly balanced composition creates a segment from nature to remember! Was this photo taken on a trek up to Sunset Peak?


YTSL said...

Hi Bill --

Yes, indeedy -- both the top and middle photos in this entry were taken on a Sunset Peak hike. :)