Sleigh Bells and Har Gow: Christmas in Hong Kong

Category: Culture, Translation Services

Given its location, Hong Kong is a surprising contender for Christmas cheer, but that is one of the many pleasant surprises that await you. Come late December, the subtropical Pacific city transforms into a veritable winter wonderland. With a nod to its British past, Father Christmas (known as ่–่ช•่€ไบบ, pronounced sing daan lou yan) can be found entertaining young children. Skyscrapers bedecked with lights twinkle in the harbor, carolers ring out at various places throughout the city, ice skaters glide through Ocean Park, Disneyland pulls out the holiday stops, and WinterFest beckons holiday revelers to enjoy the festivities..and if you stay through the New Year, you’ll be treated to a laser- and fireworks-spectacular. The Hong Kong Ballet even puts on the Nutcracker.

It may be hard to remember that you are in a city where atheists/agnostics, Buddhists, Taoists, and Confucians nab the top spots for religious adherence (or the lack thereof), and the Lunar New Year and Buddha’s Birthday draw even larger crowds than Christmas, which is more of a social event than a religious one (although Hong Kong does claim a sizeable Christian community too). That said, if you are launching a website or rolling out a product here during December, you will get some mileage from your Christmas-themed campaign, so put a Santa hat on your newly translated content and go to town.

However, don’t expect that your Hong Kong launch will work in mainland China without some adjustment. While it is legally part of the PRC, Hong Kong is definitely its own entity, politically and culturally speaking. In addition to unique Christmas-themed events, Hong Kong uses a different set of Chinese characters that will be largely unfamiliar in Beijing (but generally OK in Taiwan). We can help you figure out how best to prepare for your launch, so you can enjoy your dim sum and then head out to join the carolers.

Photo attribution: le niners