One of the key topics of your school newsletter in the forthcoming issue is the discussion about festivals in Hong Kong. You are invited to write an article about which festival is preferably preserved. Write the article.
Hong Kong is frequently described as a place where East meets West. Not only have the Chinese traditional festivals remained, but also the ‘imported’ festivals are becoming very popular rapidly. It is a civilized act to embrace festivals of different cultures. However, what we have seen recently is that foreign festivals tend to override traditional ones. For example, the lantern festival is overshadowed by Valentine’s Day. In my opinion, Chinese traditional festivals give far more significance to our culture so we should not let our own festivals go. The Lunar New Year, which forms an integral part of Chinese culture, is a case in point.
The Lunar New Year draws a closer bond between family members. Western people usually gather with friends around at parks or squares for counting down of the new year. Rather meaning a new start, the Lunar New Year has its deep-rooted tradition of family reunion instead. The sense of family solidarity is firmly embedded in Chinese people’s thought and they have a strong desire to celebrate with the kinship based on blood and marriage. The Lunar new year has a long-standing history of serving this purpose. People are used to visiting relatives to greet each other, a way to maintain the family ties. In fact, the ambiance of the festival is so unique that no other comparable festivals can perform the same function.
Apart from being a time to feast and reunite with family, the festivity is associated with a large array of rituals. For example, red envelopes are given by senior family members to their junior relations. The traditional dragon and lion dance is performed outdoors to the accompaniment of drums and cymbals. Citizens put up an impressive display of fireworks, though illegal in Hong Kong, around midnight to welcome in the new year. All these activities have existed for a long time, thereby becoming the key elements of Chinese culture. The disappearance of the festival means the vanishment of these traditions. There is no point in letting the custom fade out in our cultural heritage.
Perhaps the most convincing reason is the festival’s economic contribution. During the Lunar New Year, thousands of mainlanders go across the border to travel to Hong Kong. Their purchasing power is so strong that there have been consecutive record-breaking sales in some renowned commercial arcades such as Harbor City and Times Square. So far, no other holidays can outperform the Lunar New Year in promoting local business. It boosts the economic development, especially favorable to the catering and hospitality industry. The fact that the Lunar festival generates impressive income to tourism have encouraged us to continue this Chinese tradition.
The functions of a festival are to foster social cohesion and preserve heritage. The Lunar New Year not merely performs these two functions successfully, but brings extra economic gains to the city as well. Its existence is more justified than other festivals. We should never underplay its celebration.