Kung Hei Fat Choi! Wishing you all the best in Year of the Snake!
As somewhat of a tradition, each year we brave the masses at the Lunar New Year Flower Market in Victoria Park to check out the scene and see what items are especially popular or cute.
As one would imagine, there was all sorts of snake-related merchandise including stuffed animals and balloons, but the major standout this year were app cushions!
In mobile-phone obsessed Hong Kong, which has one of the highest phone engagement rates in the world, apps are a way of life. So it’s no surprise that they have made their way into the city’s collective consciousness and earned an appearance at the fair.
Walking down one of the aisles I spotted a booth that had a chart indicating the top five apps in the Hong Kong iTunes store. (Another also listed the top Android apps!) The list included both international apps (Whatsapp, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube,) as well as local restaurant guide, OpenRice.
Each of the top apps (identifiable through their icons,) were being sold in the form of plush cushions. The most popular seemed to be Instagram, and at the first booth I came to, they were completely sold out! Later in my rounds I snagged the very last Instagram pillow at a different booth (the things I do for this site!).
One of these days it would be interesting to see a study done on the cultural beliefs of Hong Kong based on the merchandise sold at the Lunar New Year market. The place is filled with items that have various meanings, many thought to bring luck in different forms. It’s a unique phenomenon that’s worth a closer look by cultural anthropologists and local academia.
Here’s a video of the scene at 2:00 am!