Hong Kong Culture

Hong Kong Culture Page introduces Hong Kong Culture Tour information about People, Language, Costumes, Cuisine, Festivals, Song and Dance, Traditional Crafts, Architecture, Museums, Religion, Historical Sites, Traditional Villages, Intangible Cultural Heritages and Inheritors of Intangible Cultural Heritages.

Hong Kong has amazing fusion culture of traditional Chinese culture and colonial culture. The culture of Hong Kong, or Hongkongers culture, can best be described as a foundation that began with Lingnan's Cantonese culture which later became influenced by British culture due to British colonialism, forming the amazing fusion culture. Moreover, Hong Kong also has indigenous people, whose cultures have been absorbed into modern day Hong Kong culture.

History of Hong Kong

If you want to understand Hong Kong culture, you 'd better get to know the history of Hong Kong which formed the fusion culture of Hong Kong. Hong Kong was claimed by Great Britain in three steps: Hong Kong island was handed over to Britain by China "in perpetuity" in 1842 after the Opium War, the peninsula of Kowloon was ceded in 1860, and the New Territories were leased to the United Kingdom for ninety-nine years in 1898. he PRC never accepted these "Unequal Treaties," which it viewed as products of imperialism. The end of the lease to the New Territories led to the return of the entire territory to China.T he key to Hong Kong's emergence was its status as a free port at the edge of China, but the emergence of a national identity dates to the early 1970s, when a generation of young people born and raised in Hong Kong came of age.

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People in Hong Kong 

Hong Kong people often call themselves "Hong Kongers" in English. In a recent poll, about 67% self identified themselves as Hong Kongers. The majority of the population is indigenous Chinese people, the non-Chinese making up only a tiny fraction of the total. Non-Chinese groups consist largely of Asians (primarily Filipinos, Indonesians, and South Asians), with small numbers of non-Asians (mainly Americans, Canadians, and Australians). According to 2017 statistics, the proportion of Chinese in Hong Kong's population is about 91.4%. Other nationalities include Philippines (about 190,000, 2.6%), Indonesia (about 170,000, 2.3%) and India (about 33,000, 0.4%). An overwhelming majority of the Chinese are from Guangdong province and from Hong Kong itself, with smaller numbers coming from other parts of China such as Shanghai.


Chinese and English are both official languages. Cantonese, Mandarin and English in the spoken form, are the common languages used in Hong Kong. Apart from Cantonese, common dialects such as Teochew, Hakka, and Tanka are used within separate communities of the Guangdong and Hong Kong Chinese. Groups from other parts of China are also likely to use their own native dialects, and, similarly, the non-Chinese are likely to use their own native languages among themselves. According to 2016 statistics, 88.9% of Hong Kong's resident population use Cantonese, 4.3% use English, 1.9% use Putonghua, 3.1% use other Chinese dialects and 1.9% use other languages, and the most commonly used Chinese characters in Hong Kong are traditional Chinese.

Religion Culture in Hong Kong

Hong Kongers have more religious freedom than their close neighbours in China. Almost all the major religions in the world have followers in Hong Kong. The Chinese mainly believe in Buddhism and Taoism. There are more than 360 monasteries in Hong Kong, 40 public temples and 24 Tin Hau temples. In 1841, a Roman Catholic diocese of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region was established. In 1991, there were about 258,000 Catholics in Hong Kong. The Catholic Church has schools, hospitals and social service centers in Hong Kong. Christianity was introduced to Hong Kong in 1841 and now has more than 50 sects with 285,000 followers. It also runs schools, hospitals and social service centers in Hong Kong. Other religions include Islam (about 90,000 followers, more than half of whom are Chinese) and Hinduism (with 40,000 followers).  Smaller numbers of the population are Hindu, Sikh and Jewish.


Confucianism, based on the teachings of Confucius who lived in ancient China from 551 to 479 BC, is mainly a holistic moral code for human relations with emphasis on the importance of tradition and rites. The major festival of Confucianism in Hong Kong is Confucius' birthday that falls on the 27th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar. Confucians in Hong Kong have been deeply involved in education. They run a number of local schools with an objective of promoting the teachings of Confucius.


Taoism is a religious philosophy and ritual tradition that emphasises living in harmony and union with the Tao, the principle of nature. Hong Kongers with specific wishes in mind often visit Taoist temples. In Taoism mortals can achieve ‘perfection’ through learning and assimilating themselves to the Tao, or way, to become immortal. These immortals are the deities of Taoism, and it is common for people to turn to them for help during times of crisis.  Notable Taoist temples in Hong Kong include the Wong Tai Sin Temple located in the Wong Tai Sin District in Kowloon. 


Buddhism has a considerable number of adherents in Hong Kong. Among the most prominent Buddhist temples in the city there are the Chi Lin Nunnery in Diamond Hill, built in the Tang Dynasty's architectural style; and the Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island, famous for the outdoor bronze statue, Tian Tan Buddha, which attracts a large number of visitors during the weekends and holidays. 

Mazu Belief

Recognised as the protector of fishermen and sailors, Mazu - Goddess of the sea, has become a symbol of worship, that has spread throughout China's coastal regions and Southeast Asia. Believed to have roamed the seas, protecting her believers, there are 70 Tin Hau Temples in Hong Kong paying homage to her (Tin Hau is the English translation for the cantonese Mazu). 


Christianity is one of the most influential religions in Hong Kong. It gained influence partially due to its existence Hong Kong under British Crown rule from 1841 to 1997, and the work of many Western mission agencies from many countries. At present, Hong Kong has about 300,000 Christians from 50 denominations and 1,300 synagogues. The largest denomination is the Baptist Church, followed by the Methodist Church. Other major denominations include Seventh Day Adventist Church, Episcopal Church, Evangelical Church, Evangelical Church, Pentecostal Church, Presbyterian Church of China and Salvation Army. Christianity Anglican church, held a nominal privileged status through the influenced of the British colonial government.


There are about 90,000 Muslims in Hong Kong, of whom about 30,000 are Chinese. The rest are Hong Kong-born non-Chinese, as well as Christians from Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Middle East and African countries. Four main mosques and seven madrasas are run by Khatme Nubuwwat Islamic Council, and are used daily for prayers. The oldest mosque in the city is the Shelley Street Mosque, which was built in the 1840s and rebuilt in 1915. The Kowloon Masjid and Islamic Centre on Nathan Road opened in 1984. The Masjid and Islamic Centre on Oi Kwan Road in Wan Chai was opened in September 1981. The Cape Collinson Muslim Cemetery also has a mosque.

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Hong Kong's Food Culture

Hong Kong’s cuisine is not only an exotic fusion of Eastern and Western flavours, but is also a great variety of creative culinary delights with local characteristics, making the place a world renowned Gourmet Paradise. Hong Kong is a "gourmet paradise" where the world's delicacies are gathered. In Hong Kong, food is divided in to specific categories, which are strictly adhered to. Due to Hong Kong's past as a British colony and a long history of being an international port of commerce, Hong Kong provides an unlimited variety of food and dining in every class.  Essential food in Hong Kong includes the traditional dim sum, delicious sea food, and Chinese barbeque.

Must-Eat Food in Hong Kong

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Hong Kong Architecture Culture

Hong Kong is a culmination of traditional Chinese architecture, ‘supertall’ skyscrapers and colonial Western buildings. The architecture of Hong Kong features great emphasis on Contemporary architecture, especially Modernism, Postmodernism, Functionalism, etc. Due to the lack of available land, few historical buildings remain in the urban areas of Hong Kong. However, Hong Kong has become a centre for modern architecture as older buildings are cleared away to make space for newer, larger buildings. Today, Asia’s world city has more than 7,600 skyscrapers, high-rises and other iconic buildings that make it a living showcase of the best in international contemporary architecture. Some are preserved and declared historic monuments, of which there are 117 in the city. They receive the highest level of protection under the law. 

Old Buildings and Architecture

Among the mordern tall building in Hong Kong, some old architectures still remained thanks to the protection policies. Those most historically significant buildings in Hong Kong include Pre-sincisation architecture ( Lei Cheng Uk Han Tomb, The Han Tomb's burial chamber); Local and Lingnan architecture (Hong Kong walled villages, numerous Tin Hau Temples, The Tai Fu Tai Mansion, Tsang Tai Uk) and British architectures (Murray House, Court of Final Appeal, Old Wan Chai Police Station, Old Bank of China Building, Hong Kong City Hall).

Contemporary Architecture

In the late 1990s, the primary demand for high-end buildings was in and around Central. The buildings of Central comprise the skyline along the coast of the Victoria Harbour, a famous tourist attraction in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is home to exciting new architecture. From Central’s shiny skyscrapers to Kowloon’s sprawling housing blocks. Many commercial and residential towers built in the past two decades are among the tallest in the world, including Highcliff, The Arch, and The Harbourside. Still, more towers are under construction, like One Island East. At present, Hong Kong has the world's biggest skyline (International Commerce Centre) with a total of 7,681 skyscrapers, placing it ahead of even New York City

Other Landmarks in Hong Kong

Kung Fu

Martial arts in Hong Kong are well displayed in local movies and TV series, Hong Kong has many Kung Fu themed movies. The famous Kung Fu star Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan made outstanding contribution to the shining Kung Fu masterpices. For the martial arts in daily life, you can see the elders and Kung Fu lovers practicing  tai chi in a quiet corner of the city, or perhaps stumbling upon a troop of practitioners moving in subtle co-ordination in the morning light of a park. 


The Gambling Ordinance was enacted in 1977 to regulate gambling in Hong Kong. People are allowed gamble for leisure and entertainment within these regulations at a limited number of authorized outlets. Social gambling is still allowed. Horse racing and betting on horses are entertainment in which many Hong Kong citizens participate. There are more than 60 days of horse racing in a horse racing season lasting from September to June of the following year. Daily matches are held in Sha Tin on Saturdays and Sundays, while night matches are held more frequently in Happy Valley on Wednesdays. Spectators can buy tickets to enter the stadium to watch and place bets. There is a direct train to Shatin Racecourse on Horse Racing Day. The Hong Kong Jockey Club has more than 100 betting centres in various districts. Apart from betting on horses, the Mark Six Lottery and football betting started in 2004 are also operated by the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

Arts and Performances

Cantonese Opera

If you want to experience the more traditional side of Hong Kong music, try to see a Cantonese opera performance while you are in the city. Cantonese opera is one of the major categories in Han Chinese opera, originating in southern China's Cantonese culture. Like all branches of Han Chinese opera, it is an art form involving music, singing, martial arts, acrobatics, and acting. Features particular to Cantonese opera include being sung in the Cantonese language, plus its heavy use of makeup and headdresses. Cantonese opera also uses a distinct set of musical instruments. specifically played during Cheung Chau Bun Festival and Mazu's Birthday. Popular with audiences in southern China and parts of Southeast Asia, it was included as part of UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009. 

Cantopop music

The Music of Hong Kong is an eclectic mixture of traditional and popular genres. Cantopop is short for Cantonese pop. Originally a hybrid of western pop music and Cantonese opera, it now simply refers to pop songs sung in the Cantonese language. Love ballads are among the most popular songs, favored in Hong Kong music just as in the rest of the world.


The Hong Kong cinema industry has been one of the most successful worldwide, especially during the second half of the 20th century. For decades, Hong Kong was the third largest motion picture industry in the world (after Indian cinema and Hollywood) and the second largest exporter. Having received international recognition for directors such as Wong Kar-wai, martial artists and film stars such as Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee are known globally, especially in Chinese settlements overseas, historically most of whom have been of Cantonese ancestry and enjoy Cantonese-language entertainment. Many other Hong Kongers actors have transitioned over to Hollywood, including Chow Yun-fat and John Woo. Despite an industry crisis starting in the mid-1990s and Hong Kong's return to Chinese sovereignty in July 1997, Hong Kong film has retained much of its distinctive identity and continues to play a prominent part on the world cinema stage. 

Television Dramas

Hong Kong TV series have contributed to a unique cultural identity among the Hong Kongers and served as a cultural resource for the Cantonese community worldwide. However, the gradual demise of ATV and eventually, TVB, because of worsening quality of TV shows and dramas resulted in greater preference for those produced in other Asian nations, namely South Korean, Japanese, and Taiwanese TV shows, which now dominate the latest TV trends in Hong Kong.


Animation production in Hong Kong has been around roughly for sixty years. It is not until recently that it has been recognized and appreciated as a respected industry. While Hong Kong has had an endless supply from Japanese anime and US Disney animations, China has been trying hard to revitalise the industry. Hong Kong has made contributions in recent years with productions like A Chinese Ghost Story: The Tsui Hark Animation and DragonBlade. Most notably, companies like Imagi Animation Studios located directly in the territory are now pushing 3D-CG animations into the market. McDull is arguably the most prominent among Hong Kongers animations.

Hong Kong Literature

In literature, the territory is considered a small part of Greater China. Hong Kong is famous for comic books (often with martial themes and set in a vague imperial past) that are read throughout the Chinese-speaking world. Hong Kong literature is the literature produced in Hong Kong. It started in the early 20th century when many of the works revolved around expressing such sentiments. Starting from the 1950s, however, Hong Kong developed in such a high pace the literature topics began ranging from local current events and cultures. Nowadays, Hong Kong literature has been fully developed, with numerous prolific writers producing works such as proses and novels. Hong Kong literature is characterised by its heavy use of daily life scenarios - meaning that romance, humour, and satires are popular genres, although Hong Kong has also produced several prominent wuxia and science fiction writers. Prominent writers of Hong Kong literature include: Amy Cheung, Chip Tsao, Jin Yong and Ni Kuang.

Folk Customs

Traditional Celebrations

There are some distinctive holidays that are celebrated in Hong Kong as a part of eastern culture, the best-known is Lunar New Year, which occurs approximately a month after Gregorian New Year, variably in late January or early February. In Lunar New Year, Hong Kong people also go to flower fairs by tradition during Lunar New Year, much like Cantonese from the mainland. Other Han Chinese events include the Dragon Boat Festival, and Mid-Autumn Festival (especially the Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance). There are also several celebrations found only in Hong Kong, namely the Cheung Chau Bun Festival, the Birthday of Che Kung, and Hong Kong Well-wishing Festival.

Feng Shui

Literally meaning ’wind and water’, also known asChinese geomancy, is a pseudoscience originating from ancient China, which claims to use energy forces to harmonize individuals with their surrounding environment. Many people in Hong Kong believe that good feng shui can attract prosperity and ward off bad luck. You can find feng shui in practice almost everywhere in Hong Kong. Because of this, feng shui practitioners are consulted on everything from new home purchases and office floor plans, to the enormous architectural and engineering projects that have given the city its distinctive look.

Petty Person Beating

Petty Person Beating or Villain hitting (da siu yahn), is a folk sorcery popular in the Guangdong area of China and Hong Kong—primarily associated with Cantonese.  It is a traditional ritual that some Hong Kong people, usually the older generation, practise during the second month of the lunar year. The ritual is performed for blessing or exorcising purposes. It is believed that ta siu yahn can change one's luck and curse one's enemies. Goose Neck Bridge on Canal Road in Causeway Bay is the best known spot where the ritual is held.

Historical Sites in Hong Kong

There are many historical sites in Hong Kong, Both Chinese and colonial,  telling the story of Hong Kong’s journey from a far flung outpost of Imperial China to the culturally diverse crossroads of a shrinking world.

Museums in Hong Kong

There are many museums in Hong Kong, varied and downright fun, with topics as diverse as medical science, tea ware, robotics, triad rituals, movies, history, urban planning and prison life.

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Intangible Cultural Heritages and Inheritors in Hong Kong

In 2017, the Leisure & Cultural Services Department announced the first Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Hong Kong, which listed 20 items for the Government's consideration for ICH preservation. Ten of the items were recommended by the Intangible Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee after considering the 480 items on the city's first ICH inventory. The remaining 10 items have already been inscribed on China's national list of ICH. They are Cantonese Opera, Herbal Tea, the Cheung Chau Jiao Festival, the Tai O Dragon Boat Water Parade, the Hong Kong Chiu Chow community's Yu Lan Ghost Festival, the Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance, Guqin Arts (the craft of Qin making), Quanzhen Temples Taoist Ritual Music, the Hang Hau Hakka Unicorn Dance and Wong Tai Sin Belief and Customs.