1st JULY 2013 marks the 16th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China.
A flag-raising ceremony has been held since 1997 to celebrate the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) at the Golden Bauhinia Square. It is officially HK’s National Day and has been a national holiday since.
We had the opportunity to attend the annual flag-raising ceremony during our stay in HK (hubby attended all three occasions in 2008, 2009 and 2010, while I accompanied him twice). We joined senior government officials led by the Chief Executive (then Mr. Donald Tsang till 2011), community leaders, uniformed groups, members of the diplomatic corps and other invited guests, to celebrate the event.
On all the occasions (even till this day), the programme would be the same and very precise down to the minute details – 23 minutes in all.
It begins at 7:41am when the HK Police Band marches in; followed by the march-on of Guard of Honour of the Disciplined Services at 7:45am, along with the Flag and Escort parties.
The Chief Executive makes his entrance at 7:55am; all guests rise and stand on attention and solemn silence; and at 7:59am, the National Anthem is played while the national and regional flags are hoisted. At 8am, salutation comes from the sea and air formations (all eyes shoot up to the sky to see the helicopters carrying national and regional flags fly by and across to Victoria Harbour as decorated ships sail by); at 8:03am the Guards of Honour and the rest marched off. And the ceremony is officially over at 8:04am. The historic event is over in 23 minutes.
Guests then proceed to the Grand Foyer of the HK Convention and Exhibition Centre for a reception (many with the maroon-coloured umbrellas in hand).
The programme is the same for 1st October which is the National Day of China.
These photos were taken on 1st October 2009 on the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.