Hundreds of thousands gather on both sides of Victoria Harbour as Hong Kong welcomes 2024 with a bang


Thousands of residents and tourists started to gather along the waterfront hours before Sunday’s fireworks show as the city logged its warmest New Year’s Eve on record, at 25.7 degrees Celsius at the Hong Kong Observatory.

At Tamar Park in Admiralty, one of the spots with the best views for the fireworks, some arrived as early as 6pm. People sat on picnic mats and portable recliners, shared refreshments and listened to music as they waited for the countdown.

Robles Lan, 57, a family driver from the Philippines who has lived in Hong Kong for 29 years, said he wished for a more stable job in 2024 to tackle increasingly expensive living costs.

“I got fired twice, so 2023 was a tough year for me,” Lan said. “Dealing with the rising living costs, I now send less money back home. I’ll probably just rest at home in the coming days since I’m tired from my busy work.”

Revellers get into the party mood in Lan Kwai Fong. Photo: Eugene Lee

Shenzhen media worker Xu Zhencong, 25, said she hoped for a better economy in the face of stiff competition among the workforce in mainland China. Xu and her husband were visiting Hong Kong for the fireworks for the first time.

“The economy and overall environment are indeed challenging, and the competition in every industry on the mainland is fierce,” Xu said.

“My new year wish is to successfully pass the driving test so I can be the driver when we drive back to our hometown in Hunan province.”

The pyrotechnics were returning with a bang – with the Tourism Board describing the display as the biggest yet – spanning a distance of 1.3km from Central to North Point.

420,000 set to watch New Year’s Eve fireworks at Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour

The show was back for the first time since 2018, as the 2019 edition was cancelled because of social unrest, while the Covid-19 pandemic put a stop to displays in the years after that.

The “New Year, New Legend” display kicked off at midnight with a winter scene, represented by red and green-hued fireworks to depict a Christmas atmosphere, followed by colourful flowerlike pyrotechnic blooms for spring.

The fireworks display lasted 12 minutes and started at midnight. Photo: Elson LI

Summer featured beach ball-shaped fireworks, followed by golden sparkles for autumn, before the show wrapped up with a variety of shapes and colours such as hearts and smiley faces.

Tourists and locals also flocked to countdown events organised by the city’s two theme parks. Hong Kong Disneyland offered performances and fireworks, while Ocean Park held a countdown concert.

Among the visitors at Ocean Park was Alex Fok, 55, who spent the day there with his son after winning free tickets in a lucky draw at his company. He said he hoped the economy would recover in 2024.

“My overall feeling for 2023 is that of disappointment,” the financial industry worker said. “Although the social situation has improved and stabilised after quarantine-travel resumed, the entire economy is still sluggish.”

Revellers gather in the Lan Kwai Fong nightlife area to ring in the new year. Photo: Eugene Lee

Sun Lixiao, 44, a grocery store owner from Dongguan in neighbouring Guangdong province, signed up for a tour group and took her two children to the theme park. She said she hoped her business would be better in the coming year.

“The past year has been very difficult for our family because our business has been very poor due to the economic downturn,” she said.

Lee Tung Avenue in Wan Chai was the scene of a festive treat by local multimedia artist Victor Wong, who created a Wishing Stars art installation with more than a million acrylic beads.

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Interior designer Zhong Jinlin, 31, from Shenzhen, stopped by with his girlfriend ahead of the fireworks and would stay a night in the city to celebrate the new year.

“Since I work in the field, I’m even more interested [in the light decorations]. After seeing it today, it’s indeed worth the visit, and we’ve taken many beautiful photos,” he said.

The Tsim Sha Tsui harbourfront is packed hours ahead of the fireworks display. Photo: Sam Tsang

Also posing for pictures in front of the decorations was university student Alicia Choi, 23, who spent her holiday with three friends.

“The overhead lights and the small lights on the trees create a dreamy feeling, making the photos taken here exceptionally beautiful. I hope everything goes smoothly with my studies this year, and I also hope to successfully find a job,” she said.



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