Culture of Hong Kong

Culture of Hong Kong

Hong Kong's culture is best described as a true fusion between east and west. It is without a doubt that the foundation of Hong Kong is Chinese, and was influenced via British colonialism. As a result, when the transfer of sovereignty back into China's hands occurred in 1997, Hong Kong had its own unique identity.

Naturally, most ethnic Chinese in Hong Kong will lean towards their own Chinese culture. Examples of this include family solidarity as well as the concept of 'saving face', as there are large communities such as the Cantonese from Guangdong, Shanghainese, Teo chew, Hokkien, and Hakka people. However, many especially those born after the mid-1960's can be considered westernised as they have been influenced by western lifestyles.

Other signs of Chinese traditions still playing a part in local Hong Kongers lifestyles include language, culture, and festivals. Many locals are either bilingual or trilingual, as they will speak English, Cantonese, and sometimes Mandarin. Festival-wise, many people still follow Chinese Folk Religion which is ingrained in the culture. They celebrate Chinese New Year, travel annually to the cemetery to worship and honour their ancestors during Tsing Ming festival, there are many shrines both on the streets and in larger sites, many people believe in numerology like the number 4 meaning “to die” and is thus avoided as much as possible, and bagua mirrors are used to reflect evil spirits.

Food is extremely important in the culture of Hong Kong. Foods such as dim sum, fast food, da been lo, and many delicacies can be found in Hong Kong so it is considered a gourmet's paradise. There is also a fusion of eastern and western cuisine available.

In more modern times, Hong Kong has played a major part in entertainment. Cantopop is very popular and although the music scene is no longer as dominated by the “4 Heavenly Kings” who are basically male triple threats who can sing, dance, and act; it is still very popular. TV dramas (also known as TVB) are also very popular. The movie industry is very successful although there has been a slump since the mid-1990's. There are many Hong Kongers who have transitioned over to Hollywood such as John Woo, Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, and Chow Yun-Fat. Famous singers and actors can truly become superstars in Hong Kong, as the locals are truly 'gossip mad' so the personal lives of celebrities are a topic of many conversations and tabloid – sort of like the British tabloids.

However, long before the era of television, Manhua was very popular. Manhua are comic books and these are readily available at most street corner news stands. Popular titles include Old Master Q and Chinese Hero. Another popular art form that arrived long before television is Cantonese Opera. It involves singing, music, martial arts, acting, and acrobatics.

Hong Kong is well known for its materialistic culture. The locals are truly shopping mad, and it is therefore a premiere shopping region internationally. Some of the more popular shopping destinations include Tsim Sha Tsui, Mongkok, and Causeway Bay.

Popular leisure time activities include sports and games. These include tai chi, kung fu, mahjong, Chinese chess, and Chinese checkers. The younger generation also enjoy video games, karaoke, and online and online gaming.

Gambling also heavily features in the Hong Kong lifestyle. There are only 3 licensed institutions that are both approved and supervised by the Hong Kong Government. This includes Mark Six lottery, betting on football, and horse racing at Sha Tin and Happy Valley.