HONG KONG, Oct. 1 (Xinhua) -- Tens of thousands of local residents from all walks of life took part in a slew of activities on Thursday to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.
Celebrations began in the morning as hundreds of people gathered at the Gold Bauhinia Square to watch a solemn flag- raising ceremony. The square, famous for a shining sculpture of Hong Kong's endemic Bauhinia flower which is deemed as an important symbol of the city, was flooded with spectators of all ages waving flaglets and chanting the Chinese national anthem.
Not far from the square, the HKSAR government hosted a grand reception at the Convention Center to mark the occasion.
Speaking at the reception, Acting Chief Executive Wong Yan Lung said that over the past 60 years, "our nation has encountered many significant tests and challenges."
However, he said "with unswerving determination and perseverance as well as the desire for continuous improvement, Chinese people have achieved great success on all fronts that has attracted worldwide attention".
He said that the country has become a "major player" in world politics and finance, pledging that Hong Kong, which has benefited from a stronger motherland, will continue to support "our nation's efforts in promoting greater collaboration with our neighbors in the region as well as with the broader international community."
As a part of the celebration, a carnival started in the afternoon at the Victoria Park where is filled with joy and laughter.
Trees decorating with red lanterns, dances by various groups were seen on makeshift stages and kids lined up together with their parents for games, which are designed to test their knowledge about what China has achieved in the past six decades.
The day's celebration culminated in a splendid 23-minute fireworks display, which lit up the night sky above the Victoria Harbor.
Shapes of flowers amazed the estimated 350,000 spectators, triggering cheers and applauds now and then. When the fireworks display reached its climax at the last scene with fast and rhythmic firing of shells displaying the Chinese character for " China 60", the audience broke into thunderous cheers.