Previously described as a barren rock, Hong Kong has today become a world-class financial, trading, and business center. It has one of the finest deep-water ports in the world, along with a hardworking, adaptable, and well-educated workforce.
Hong Kong has a hybrid culture of the east and the west, though most of the people belong to the ethnic Chinese group. Naturally, they lean towards their own culture, though many of them have adopted western ways. A heavy influence of Cantonese culture can also be seen here.
The most widely-spoken language in Hong Kong is Cantonese. It was after the 1997 handover that the government adopted the biliterate and trilingual policy, according to which Chinese and English both must be acknowledged as official languages. Cantonese has been acknowledged as the de facto official spoken dialect of the Chinese in Hong Kong. Standard Mandarin is also spoken along with these other languages.
The food in Hong Kong is a fusion of eastern and western-style cuisine. You are sure to find an unlimited variety of food here. Hong Kong has been given the reputable labels of the Gourmet Paradise and the World's fair of Food because of its complex combinations and international gourmet expertise.
Traditional dresses, like the pien-fu, the ch'ang-p'ao, and the shen-I are very popular among the women of Hong Kong. The people of this region, like those in China, associate specific colors with different seasons. According to this, green is the color of spring, red the color of summer, white the color of autumn, and black the color of winter. The fashion here revolves around these colors throughout the year. Western clothes have also entered the culture, with jeans, skirts, and other forms of dresses widely seen on the streets.
The traditional designs for men include embroidered clothes with unique designs, like phoenixes, dragons, and lightening. The men in Hong Kong also wear the traditional long gown.
Martial arts is accepted as a form of exercise and entertainment in Hong Kong, with Tai Chi being the most popular. Every park in this region has people practicing this art at dawn. Most of the martial art forms have been passed down from different generations of Chinese ancestry, with styles like the praying mantis, snake fist, and crane being the most recognized.
People in Hong Kong spend time playing games like Mahjong, which is played in relaxation or with plenty of money at stake. This region has lots of Mahjong shops and parlors available, which makes this game easily accessible. In Hong Kong, people of all age groups also play video games. Today, this region has some of the most up-to-date arcades games available outside Japan. Middle-aged locals also spend time on horse racing and gambling.
Chinese beliefs form an integral part of the culture of Hong Kong. The people pray and make offerings at more than 600 old and new temples, shrines, and monasteries that are found across the territory. Feng Shui is taken very seriously here, with expensive construction projects often hiring consultants that are believed to make or break a business. The Bagua mirror is also regularly used to shield evil spirits. People in Hong Kong also believe in numbers, with the Number 4 being avoided at all costs (since it is similar to the Chinese word for die). The people also believe in avoiding the use of scissors on the Chinese New Year.
Chinese New Year, Ching Ming Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, and the Mid-Autumn Festival are the most celebrated festivals in Hong Kong.
- Chinese New Year:
This is one of the most celebrated festivals in Hong Kong, with most shops and small restaurants being closed for 3 days, and some even up to 8 days. During this time, new clothes are worn to signify the New Year, with the color red being used liberally in all decorations. Married people and elders also give red packets to juniors and children. The festivities may vary from region to region and from family and family.
- Ching Ming Festival:
This is also known as the Remembrance of Ancestors Day, and is celebrated in April. Since this day is devoted to honoring relatives who have died, thousands of Chinese visit cemeteries to clean the graves of their loved ones. Young Chinese children are taught to pray to ancestors and for the family spirits. In Chinese culture, the symbol of light and enemy of darkness is the willow. Some people carry willow branches or hang them on the front door on Ching Ming.
- Dragon Boat Festival:
This is undoubtedly one of Hong Kong's most popular events. This festival draws thousands of spectators and racing teams from around the globe. This event is growing more and more popular around the world, especially in places like the USA, Canada, and in the Europe.
- Mid-Autumn Festival:
This festival is also known as the Moon Festival, and takes place on the 15th day of the 8th months of the lunar calendar. This is a time for the members of a family to get together wherever it is possible. Mooncakes form an important part of this festival, and are given to relatives and friends during the festival. According to tradition, children carry lanterns of animal shapes lit by candles. During this festival, the hills of Hong Kong, Victoria Park, the beaches, and the Peak are shimmering with the glow of lanterns as darkness approaches.