Guide on Specific Events
In addition to the celebrations that are described in the “Bank Holidays” section, there are a number of events held during the year that are celebrated in Hong Kong despite the fact that they are not public holidays.
27th Day of the 8th Moon (September/October)
Confucius was a famous Chinese philosopher who taught about gaining self enlightenment through the five virtues of charity, justice, propriety, wisdom and loyalty. He is highly regarded in China to this day and his birthday is celebrated via ceremonies held at temples throughout the territory. Those who prescribe to the teachings of Confucius, on a more intense scale, will often take the day off work to contemplate his teachings.
Birthday of Tin Hau
23rd Day of the 3rd Moon (April/May)
Tin Hau is the Goddess of the sea and is believed to protect fishermen and sailors. She is very important to Hong Kong people, whose heritage has been derived from the sea, and for this reason there are over 60 temples throughout the territory dedicated to her. Many people in local communities hold processions and traditional ceremonies on Tin Hau’s birthday in order to worship and thank their Goddess.
24th day of the 6th moon in the lunar calendar (July/August)
Kwan Tai or Kwan Kung is considered the “God of War” and carries a sword. Ironically he is both the patron of the police and the triads, Hong Kong’s gang community. Celebrations and parties are held to celebrate his birthday.
Seventh Goddess’ Day
7th day of the 7th lunar month (August)
The Seventh Goddess’ Day is a romantic celebration that is related to a story about the love between the 7th daughter of the Emperor of Heaven and a cowherd. The story goes that the cowherd’s ox took him to a brook with the directions that he would find love there. He sees the Emperor’s seven daughters and instantly falls in love with the youngest and prettiest. She too falls in love with him and they have two children. However, the time comes when the Emperor demands the return of his daughter and he takes her to heaven. The cowherd follows but is prevented from seeing her. The two lovers are now only permitted to meet once a year, on the Seventh Goddess’ Day and the magpies in heaven form a bridge over which the couple can meet. People in Hong Kong mark the festival with romantic gestures and acts of love.
Chinese Ghosts Festival
15th day of the 7th lunar moon (August/September)
During one lunar month during the Hungry Ghost Festival it is believed that ghosts roam the earth and the gate of hell is opened. Some people light small fires of paper during this period to make the ghosts feel comfortable whilst other people cook meat dishes which they will offer to the ghosts before consuming them themselves. Chinese operas are performed at the Morton Terrace in Causeway Bay.