Hong Kong has 17 public holidays each year and the following dates are noted for 2013. These public holidays give people time off from work and spend time with friends and family. Banks, public offices and most private businesses are also closed for these dates.
For 2013, the following dates have been set as public holidays.
New Year’s Day 2013 – January 1, Tuesday
Hong Kong welcomes in the first day of the new year in the modern Gregorian calendar.
Lunar New Year 2013 – February 11 to February 13
The Chinese New Year is the most important of all the traditional Chinese holidays and marks the coming of the spring. It happens on the first day of the first month of the Lunar calendar. Chinese all over the world observe this day, and over the years has also been celebrated by non-Chinese of various faiths.
Good Friday 2013 – March 29, Friday
This holiday has long been observed in Hong Kong because of its sizable Christian population. It commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ.
The day after Good Friday 2013 – March 30, Saturday
Holy Saturday, the day after Good Friday is also marked as a public holiday in Hong Kong and is closely related to the previous and succeeding holidays.
Easter Monday 2013 – April 1, Monday
This is another Christian holiday that is largely observed in Hong Kong in respect for the Christian community.
Ching Ming Festival 2013 – April 4, Thursday
This holiday is known by several names, particularly Pure Brightness Festival and Ancestors Day. It is a day for people to remember and honor their ancestors by visiting their graves.
Labour Day 2013 – May 1, Wednesday
The achievements and accomplishments of workers and laborers are recognized on this day.
The Birthday of Buddha 2013 – May 17, Friday
The birth of Prince Siddhartha Gautama is celebrated on the 8th day of the 4th month in the Chinese lunar calendar, and its date varies on the Gregorian calendar each year. Legend has it that on his birth, Buddha was bathed with water by nine dragons. Bathing Buddha statues on this day is believed to help purify one’s soul.
Tuen Ng Festival 2013 – June 12, Wednesday
Tuen Ng Festival is the Cantonese name for Duanwu or the Dragon Boat Festival. It is also known as the Double Fifth because it falls on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month. This is associated with patriotism, with people participating in dragon boat races to celebrate the day.
Hong Kong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day 2013 – July 1, Monday
This holiday celebrates the change of leadership from the United Kingdom to the People’s Republic of China, which then led to the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
The day after the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival 2013 – September 20, Friday
The Mid-Autumn Festival is a harvest festival that happens during the 16th day of the 8th month in the Chinese Lunar Calendar. It is also known as the Moon Festival and Mooncake Festival. It puts importance to thanksgiving and prayer, as well as the gathering of friends and family.
National Day 2013 – October 1, Tuesday
This holiday commemorates the national day of the People’s Republic of China. Expect a massive and extravagant fireworks display at Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour.
The day after Chung Yeung Festival 2013 – October 14, Monday
Since this holiday occurs on the 9th day of the 9th month in the Lunar Calendar, it is also known as the Double Ninth holiday. This festival also honors ancestors, and many families come together in cemeteries to pay their respects. Climbing the city’s high areas is also a popular activity for this day and believed to bring good luck.
Christmas Day 2013 – December 25, Wednesday
Christmas Day yearly commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ and is celebrated all across the world by Christians. In some countries, it is considered as a non-religious holiday and observed by non-Christians as well.
Boxing Day 2013 – December 26, Thursday
The first weekday after Christmas Day is considered as a holiday in Hong Kong, and is likely a heritage from the British colonizers.
Hong Kong laws state that if a holiday falls on a Sunday, the immediate weekday that follows would be a public holiday. For example, the Chung Yeung Festival in 2013 falls on a Sunday so the next day is marked as a holiday. In the case of Lunar New Year this 2013, the first day falls on a Sunday so the fourth day after is declared as a holiday to compensate. Hong Kong laws also state that Sundays are statutory or compulsory holidays.
Photo by James Cridland
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