The British took control of Hong Kong in 1841 following the Opium
Wars. European trade with China had been taking place since the
16th century, but as European demand for tea and silk grew, the
balance of trade became more and more unfavourable to Europeans,
who were expected to pay in silver.
In 1773, the British unloaded 70,000 kg of Bengal opium, and the
Chinese taste for the `foreign mud' grew exponentially. Alarmed
at the drain of silver from the country and the increasing number
of addicts, the emperor banned the drug trade.
The Europeans, with the help of corrupt Chinese officials, managed
to keep the trade in opium going until 1839, when the emperor again
issued orders to stamp it out.
Most of the Hong Kong Chinese are either Buddhists or Taoists.
There are more than 600 temples outside Hong Kong, built in residential
With a nominal fee, you can have your fortune told at some of these
temples. Worshippers during festivities who light joss sticks to
ward off evil spirits crowd these temples.
Opera is an important part of Chinese culture for hundreds of years.
Certain shows in rural areas can last anywhere from 3 - 4 hours
to five days.
The music played in Chinese opera is too, somewhat interesting to
people outside the societal boundary. The Chinese use a lot of glittering
costumes and heavy makeup is applied on the faces of the actors/actresses.
The ancient Hong Kong can be revisited through the country's museums.
Many of the exhibits highlight local history, Chinese arts, and
A 2,000-year-old tomb, traditional hardwood furniture, ancient Chinese
ceramics, and classic lithographs are all available for you to witness.
The museums are clean, most are air-conditioned with free admission.
Truly a great way to rediscover ancient Hong Kong.
There are also abundance of Chinese festivals throughout the year
all over Hong Kong.
These events have attracted a lot of visitors to come and see the
Birthday of Tin Hau (goddess of the sea), Tuen Ng - Dragon Boat
Festival - (in June), the Bun Festival on Cheung Chau Island, the
Mid-Autumn Festival filled with sparkling lantern displays, and
Chinese (Lunar) New Year for that spectacular display of fireworks
in Victoria Harbour.