I have been wanting to see the Flag Raising Ceremony at The Golden Bauhinia Square for quite some time, but with an early 7:45 am start, I found it difficult to crawl out of bed and head over to Wan Chai. However, everything seemed to align this past Sunday morning as I had an early night on Saturday and vowed to haul myself out of bed (which is becoming increasingly difficult to do with this cold weather) to watch the “enhanced” ceremony.
To give a bit of a history lesson before I continue, The Golden Bauhinia Square memorializes the handover of Hong Kong from the British to China and the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on July 1, 1997. In celebration, the Chinese government sent a statue of a gilded Bauhinia flower, also known as the Hong Kong Orchid Tree. Though the sculpture may not be the most attractive thing to look at on the harbor front, it does hold significance. The statue was created with 206 overlapping stone tablets, wherein each tablet symbolizes one year from 1842 to 2047 (when HK will no longer be considered a “Special Administrative Region”). I won’t go into too much boring detail, so if you’re aching for more information on the symbolism behind the golden statue, click here.
There is a daily ceremony that begins at 7:50 am and lasts for about 15 minutes conducted by Hong Kong Police Officers. On the first day of every month there is an “enhanced” ceremony where the police officers and the rifle unit (both in full uniform) perform the flag raising after the Police Band plays the national anthem. For a video of the band I took, click here. After both the Hong Kong and China flags are raised and the police leave, the Police Pipe Band enters and performs around the square for about ten minutes, totaling about 30 minutes for the entire ceremony. For a video of the pipe band I also took, click here.
I actually really enjoyed the flag raising ceremony (minus the waking up at 6:30 am bit) and would definitely recommend it. I found it interesting and entertaining, though I might be biased as I used to play in my high school band. The only annoying bit (and there is always an annoying bit in Hong Kong) was all of the mainland tourists who came by the tour bus-load and thought it perfectly fine to squeeze into the crowd and hold a camera up right in front of your face to take photographs. They also loved the fact that after the ceremony was complete, you could have your picture taken with the police officers. I’ll never quite fully understand Chinese peoples’ love for taking pictures of themselves and everything they do.
I wonder what will happen to the ceremony after 2047…