This season in Hong Kong is one of my favourites, when the city is preparing for their Chinese New Year celebrations, marking the start of the Lunar Year in Chinese culture. The Lunar New Year, based on the moon's cycles, differs from the Gregorian calendar we use in the west. This year, it falls on February 10th, and is the Year of the Dragon, symbolising courage and good fortune, bringing prosperity and positive energy.
The city of Hong Kong undergoes a magical transformation covered in vibrant red and gold, which represent good luck and prosperity in Chinese tradition. I love walking through the little side streets and markets just to see them illuminated by the warm glow of red paper lanterns, and the street stalls selling the all important Lai See packets or red pockets – an important tradition, where the red packets, containing cash are exchanged between friends and family to wish each other prosperity and happiness in the coming year.
Having lived in Hong Kong for a few years, and had Links of London shops there for so many years, I still cherish this tradition and so I am proud to share our specially designed red pockets with our lovely clients. This year's design incorporates our new Double Happiness Pendant, signifying joy, happiness, and good fortune. The identical Chinese characters – meaning happiness sit side by side, doubling the happiness, which is why it is often seen as a symbol of marriage which will bring good luck to the happy couple.
As the city prepares for the festivities, families come together to celebrate. It's a time of joy, reunion, and reflection. In China, businesses and factories close for a minimum of two weeks, allowing employees to make their way home and spend this special time with their loved ones. The remarkable high-speed train infrastructure has made this journey more accessible in recent years, adding to the ease of the annual migration.
Wishing you all a joyous and prosperous Year of the Dragon! May it be filled with happiness, good health, and moments of togetherness with your loved ones.