A brand new year is on the horizon, which means you have a full year of public holidays coming up! To make things easy for you, we’re giving you a run down of when they are, what they are, and how to use your precious annual leave to get the most out of them. Here, we give you everything you need to know about public holidays in 2019. Now get to planning!
New Year’s Day
What is it? If you have to ask…it’s the first day of 2019.
How to use it? Pair with your Christmas dates from 2018, take the 27th, 28th and 31st off (if your office isn’t closed anyway) and get a cruise-y eight days off!
Chinese New Year
What is it? The official start of the new year, according to the Chinese calendar. Expect firecrackers, fireworks, drums, lion dancing, and plenty of food. Don’t forget the little red ang pao packs!
How to use it? Take the 4th (Monday) and 8th (Friday) off from work, use the weekends either side (2nd-3rd and 9th-10th) and get a full 10 days to travel — or just relax!
Ching Ming Festival
What is it? This is an ancient festival dating back some 2,500 years. Often referred to as tomb sweeping day, those that observe this ritual go to the graves of their ancestors and do some cleaning up, before doing a food offering and indulging in a feast.
How to use it? Don’t bother using your precious annual leave — just do a quick long weekend somewhere close from the 5th-7th!
What is it? An important part of the Christian calendar, Easter includes Good Friday, which commemorates Jesus’ crucifixion, and Easter, which marks Jesus’ resurrection. Easter Monday, the second day of Easter week, is also observed.
How to use it: If you don’t want to take time off, treat this as a extended four-day weekend. If you have some annual leave to burn though, book a couple days before or after and you’ll be able to jet way for a week!
What is it? Labour Day is an official recognition of those who lobbied hard for the right to work eight-hour days, rather than the longer ones we were historically subject to. It specifically relates to a strike in Chicago in 1886, where several workers were killed when a bomb exploded.
How to use it? Sorry, this mid-week affair won’t help much if you want a long break. Just book yourself in for a spa day instead.
What is it? As it says on the box, this public holiday is official acknowledgement of a religious celebration – the day of the Buddha’s birth.
How to use it? Another four day weekend! Or longer, if you can afford to take more time off!
Tuen Ng Festival
What is it? The dragon boat festival – basically a day of frenzied competition on the water in traditional dragon boats.
How to use it? This is definitely a long weekender — stay close if you’re travelling, or just explore parts of Hong Kong you don’t usually go to.
HKSAR Establishment Day
What is it? Celebrated since 1997, this marks the end of Britain’s sovereignty of Hong Kong.
How to use it? Same as before – long weekends for the win!
What is it? A harvest festival with some 3,000 years of history, this is basically the local equivalent of Thanksgiving.
How to use it? Sorry — you probably already get Saturday off, so even though it’s technically a public holiday, you probably won’t be doing much with it.
What is it? This one should be pretty obvious – a celebration of the country.
How to use it? Get the Monday (September 31st) off work and you’ll have a four day weekend to play with!
Chung Yeung Festival
What is it? A day of remembrance where those who observe it visit the graves of their forefathers.
How to use it? Yet another three-day weekend that’s perfect for a short-haul getaway or a weekend of mooching around the city.
What is it? No, this isn’t just a festival where we eat too much food and buy (mostly) unnecessary presents. Traditionally, Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ.
How to use it? Just book the 23rd and 24th, and the 31th and 31st, off (be honest — you’re not getting much work done, anyway!) and you’ll have a full 12 days to reset and relax before diving head first into 2020!
Looking for more in-depth stories about Hong Kong? Check out our city living section.