Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year or Spring festival, is the most commonly celebrated holiday here in Hong Kong, similar to that of our Christmas. Many students go home for a week that we have off from school and spend it with their families. In the Chinese tradition, each year represents a different animal, such as dragon, ox, snake, etc This year is the year of the tiger! There are 12 animals, and each animal represents different characteristics, so the year you were born determines what you are. I actually had a really long conversation with my roommate about this topic and found it to be quite interesting. This year it began on Valentines Day. Before the New Year they had a yearly festival at Victoria Park. I really wanted to go to see what it was like, and boy, was it an experience like none other, just mobs and mobs of people everywhere. You couldnt even move because there were just so many crowded into an area. Also, it was probably not a good place to go if you are claustrophobic. But it was very fun to see nonetheless. They had a ton of traditional food to try and some of the most ridiculous gifts that people buy to give family and friends over the holidays. It is a flower market as well, so people were walking around with tons of bouquets of flowers. We spent a few hours there, because it was really fun. The next day was the Chinese New Year parade in TST. I went with a group of friends and we left maybe 3 hours before the actual parade started so we could see because we knew that it was going to be extremely crowded. When we got there, we staked out a spot a little ways down but in the front, so that we had a perfect view. They had barricaded a lot of the street off already in preparations for the event. After waiting quite some time the show finally started. One thing that I thought was really interesting is that they have different themes each year. This year was very international because a lot of the people in the parade were from all over the world. They even had the San Diego Chargers cheerleaders there and of course floats and people from all over Europe, Asia, etc It was really fun, though, to be right in the first row and see everything coming down the street. They also like to engage the audience, so a lot of the characters would come up and give the children candy or what not. One funny thing that happened is that one the floats, I think it was some sort of dragon, to be exact, came right up and into the audience and hit me. It was pretty hilarious; I even have the whole thing on video. The parade lasted for about 2 hours or so. It was such a fun time! I have always wanted to experience the Chinese New Year and being in Hong Kong for it was pretty amazing! The floats and costumes of everyone in the parade were unbelievable!