In the north, we call the Chinese New Year "Spring Festival". From childhood, this has been the most special of all celebrations and I've always associated it with the arrival of spring － the fresh smell of soil opened by the burst of green, the mild colours of blossom of peach flowers, the feeling of first drizzle of the year touching one's cheeks, and cheerful lightness shedding the cumbersome winter clothes. Of course, the fire crackers, not the monstrous ones that turn the entire city into a battle field today, but little red tubes that kids lit one by one with a long incense. With fifty of those, I could enjoy myself for the whole afternoon.
The coming of spring is almost invisible in Hong Kong. This is the time of the year I miss my northern home town the most.