Chinese New Year Fireworks to lighten up Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour - The Year of the Snake augurs serenity, hope and vitality

The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Berlin (HKETO Berlin) will soon celebrate the arrival of the Year of the Snake - a year of serenity, hope and vitality.

In 2013, 10 February marks the first day of the Chinese lunar calendar. Unlike the western one, the Chinese lunar calendar is based on the cycles of the moon instead of the sun. In the western calendar, time is linear; in the Chinese one, cyclical. 12 zodiac animal signs form the 12-year rotating cycle of the Chinese lunar calendar, the Year of the Snake are sixth in the cycle, following the Year of the Dragon. Deeply rooted in Chinese traditions but woven with a modern touch, Hong Kong is a unique and enchanting embodiment of East and West, where linear and cyclical time co-exist.

Chinese New Year is also called Spring Festival and marks the dawn of the new season, similar to carnival in western countries. People in Hong Kong enjoy three days of public holiday with every office and bank closed - a rather unusual occasion in China's ever-bustling global financial centre. To add to the atmosphere, magnificent fireworks will light up the sky of Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour on the second day of the New Year accompanied by blessing prayers in incense-filled temples, cheerful family reunion dinners, colourful flower markets and festive parades. Chinese communities all over the world will celebrate and gather with their families and friends.

Looking ahead to the Year of the Snake, Mr Ivan K B Lee, Director of the HKETO Berlin, expresses hopes for further intensifying Hong Kong-European relations after the festivities: "Snakes are symbols of intelligence and gracefulness. There is also predication that this is a year when everyone could see an improving trend and suggests there are sufficient resources for new prosperity to prevail. Let us hope that the predictions proved to be correct. My office aims to further strengthen economic and trade ties between Hong Kong and the countries under our purview by exploring new ways of co-operation in the Year of the Snake."

In February and March, HKETO Berlin will host 11 Chinese New Year receptions in central and eastern Europe, namely Bratislava (7 February), Warsaw (11 February), Berlin (13 February), Frankfurt (14 February), Hamburg (18 February), Vienna (19 February), Budapest (21 February), Prague (22 February), Zurich (26 February), Ljubljana (12 March) and Munich (14 March).

About Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office Berlin

HKETO Berlin is HKSAR Government's first overseas representative office established since Hong Kong's return to China in 1997. It is the official HKSAR Government representative in commercial relations and other economic and trade matters in Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Switzerland.

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Kilian Becker

Head, Public Relations

Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Berlin

Tel: +49 (0)30-226677242

E-mail: kilian_becker@hketoberlin.gov.hk