2 Must-Know Chinese festivals for Foreign Entrepreneurs

by Cheap Incorporation | October 9, 2023

For those of you who have a company in Hong Kong wishing to further develop or maintain a good relationship with your Chinese customers and business partners, you should be aware of the specific holidays and traditions. If you play your cards right, not only can you build a solid relationship with your business counterparts, you will also be able to grasp the fundamentals of the Chinese customs and culture which is vital in doing business in Hong Kong. There are many significant holidays in Hong Kong such as the Lunar New Year, Mid-Autumn Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, National Day etc. Hence, this article mainly serves as a tutorial guide for foreigners on what they can do or avoid during these holidays. 

Lunar New Year is widely regarded as the most crucial holiday amongst the Chinese as well as Koreans and Vietnamese. During that time of year, everyone will immediately turn into festive mode and start preparing for a new start in the upcoming year. Normally, Lunar New Year lasting for up to a week as the first three days are official public holidays in Hong Kong because most people will be busy spending time with their families and loved ones to celebrate such an important festival. If you do decide to pay a visit to Hong Kong during that time, be aware that most places will be closed apart from fast food chains like McDonalds and convenient stores. The atmosphere in Hong Kong around that time period is as vibrant as it can get with red couplets posted everywhere you go. Other than that, you may also see dragon-lion dances at large events which will always attract crowds of audience. 

One of the most important customs for Lunar New Year is handing out and receiving red envelopes with money inside which has been a long tradition in the Chinese culture. The norm is that you must prepare red envelopes and give them out to your juniors (mostly children) if you are married, anyone who is single is exempt from performing such act. This is merely a token because as a cliché, the Chinese people often believe wealth will bring you happiness, so instead of saying “Happy New year” they rather say “Kung Hei Fat Choi”, which literally translates to “wish you get rich” when greeting one another. On the other hand, some people may prefer wearing traditional Chinese clothing for festive purpose when they celebrate Lunar New Year such as when paying visits to their relatives or friends’ home. Often times, the host will prepare traditional Chinese snacks for their guests such as Nian Gao, also know as rice cake, along with turnip cake, taro cake, and all sorts of sweets that can be found inside of a candy tray. It is highly recommended if you plan to pay a visit to your business counterpart during that time, you should prepare a red envelope or two as a friendly gesture and maybe put on a traditional Chinese outfit. This will certainly increase the bond between you and your business counterparts as they see your effort in valuing the essence of Chinese culture. 

Aside from Lunar New Year, the Mid-Autumn Festival is also another significant holiday amongst Eastern Asian countries, especially in China. The Mid-Autumn Festival has a long history that can be dated back as far as several thousand years ago. During that day, people often get together with their families, eat mooncakes, and enjoy the beautiful moonlight to end the night. Mooncakes are a savory delicacy that plays an integral part in regard to the Mid-Autumn Festival that are mostly made from crust consisted of either lard or vegetable oil, fillings such as red bean or lotus seed paste and salted egg yolk as people often order their mooncakes a month or two ahead of time. Consequently, it is also recommended you bring a box of mooncakes to your business counterparts as a gift around that time period to show your genuineness and friendliness in order to further develop your business ties. 

As you know Hong Kong is a perfect example of the “East meets West” with elements of a combination between the Eastern and Western culture showcasing to the world. Besides traditional Chinese holidays, Hong Kong also celebrates several western holidays as well like Easter, Christmas Day, and New Year Day which all of them are official public holidays. Especially when during Christmas time, things can be a bit hectic in Hong Kong with fairy lights shining across the city along with dozens of tourists from all over the world coming to Hong Kong for the exotic Christmas experience. Keep in mind that there can be as many as 17 official public holidays in Hong Kong in a year, so unless you are coming for leisure purpose, please beware of when you pay a visit to Hong Kong if you are traveling for business purpose in order to avoid inconvenience.  

Should you require more guidance in understanding China’s tradition and buiding a solid connection with your Chiniese counterparts, feel free to consult with our Hong Kong Company Formation expert at info@cheapincorp.com 

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