On Monday night we made our way to Nathan Road in Tsim Sha Tsui to watch the 17th Night Parade on the first day of the Chinese New Year. Every year this event takes place around Nathan Road with thousands of spectators and we also queued up hours beforehand (as we could not get any tickets in advance).
The night parade starts at 8pm, but as we stood at the final leg of the parade, it did not arrive till 9pm. Unfortunately we ended not in the best place this year, on the opposite street of the parade, but still, it was fine, we were in the front row and could watch the spectacle from close by.
After the warm-up groups had passed (dragon balloons, kids skipping ropes, a brass band etc.), the first float that arrived was the Cathay Pacific float (of course, they are the main sponsors).
Then some dancers with a small dragon (made out of lights) appeared. They held the stick up high and turned & twisted the dragon as if the animal was alive.
Some US cheerleaders were next on stage – they had to dance quite a lot to keep themselves warm, we only had 7-8 degrees in the evening (very cold for Hong Kong).
A float from Thailand appeared next.
Some beautiful dressed Thai women and men walked next to the float. Lovely dresses and make-up.
Then some monks appeared, they demonstrated a little fight routine and looked very impressive.
The Ocean Park float was next, of course with some (fake) pandas! The pandas at Ocean Park are the pet animals of every Hong Kong person!
Some fantastic and creative dancers from Brazil appeared after the Ocean Park float. Again, very creative dresses, lots of colour and also lots of skin (despite the cold temperatures).
The dresses were fantastic, but the big floating ones (with people on stilts) were my favourite. They looked like taken out of a dream – not real at all, but very beautiful.
I really enjoyed watching them – they danced around each other, bent over the crowd (so the long cloth wrapped around the spectators) and just were really entertaining.
A Macau float was next – surrounded by some female dancers dressed up as flowers (I could not get a nice picture of them, they moved too quickly).
Of course, then it was time for more dragons. This time a little larger one.
The Hong Kong Jockey Club was also taking part (of course) and had a big float with a golden horse. Anything in gold or red will bring good luck for the next year.
A magician appeared on the street, surrounded by dancers. He jumped on a transparent box, pulled a cloth up to his face…
… and when it disappeared a lady appeared. The kids cheered at this act.
The Toy Story from Disneyland was next. Again, the kids around us were ecstatic. But it was fun to watch the characters come to live, especially the little green soldiers (behind the cowboy and dinosaur). I felt sorry for the guys, they were completely coloured in green (hopefully the colour washes easily off) and could hardly move.
More flags appeared…
… and of course more dragons and lions.
We left the parade after the lion dance.
As cute the lions are to look at, and as much good luck as they mean to bring, by 10.30pm we felt tired and cold. So we called it a day and took the star ferry back to the other side, from where we caught the ferry back to Discovery Bay.