Happy Chinese New Year

Every year, about a week before the lunar calendar says it's time for Chinese New Year, Victoria Park in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, undergoes a transformation. Within a few short days, bamboo frames and flapping tarpaulin walls become a colorful tent city filled with blossoms and fragrance. 

Bustling, booming and blooming! The annual Lunar New Year Flower Market is one of the best places to get a feel for Chinese New Year festivities.

Bustling, booming and blooming! The annual Lunar New Year Flower Market is one of the best places to get a feel for Chinese New Year festivities.

On opening day of the Flower Market, the crowd pours in. Jubilant anticipation of festive cheer translates into ringing cash registers as people purchase flowers of all kinds, bearing all manner of auspicious names, to brighten up their homes. Apart from flower vendors bursting with bloom, locals and tourists alike also push past seasoned vendors, as well as young entrepreneurs from schools and colleges, out to make some seasonal income from the happy crowd. Stuffed toys of all kinds and gimmicky gadgets jostle with gaudy golden spinning wheels that promise to turn one's fortune around. Pounding drums, enthusiastic screaming vendors, squealing children and the chatter of thousands of excited voices all contribute to the buzzing atmosphere.

Here's a close-up so you see some of the details more clearly.

Here's a close-up so you see some of the details more clearly.

With each passing day, the crowd grows in size and volume, reaching fever pitch on the final day, New Year's eve, when happy revellers shuffle along together, ever on the lookout for heavily discounted merchandise. Competing vendors can be heard shouting the latest bargains well into the crack of dawn, when it's time for all to pack up and catch a few hours of sleep before it's time to awake and begin several days of festivities. If you didn't catch it this time, mark your calendar for next year and join the fun!

Update:

I was contacted by Florence Morin, the Editor-in-Chief, of Le Petit Journal, a French online magazine, who requested permission to use my sketch. I was delighted of course! The text of this article was translated into french and published on 1 February. Here's the link: http://www.lepetitjournal.com/hong-kong/accueil/hong-kong-urban-sketchers/176261-urban-sketchers-hong-kong-le-flower-market-de-victoria-park-causeway-bay