Thursday, May 24, 2007

Cheung Chau Bun Festival

To our delight the Cheung Chau Bun Festival was on while we were in Hong Kong.

Cheung Chau Island is located south of Lantau island, its known for the beaches, seafood, a pirate cave and the Bun festival.
Locals purchase incense coils, the temple is too small to hold all the
coils so a structure outside is erected to cater for the extra worshipers

We had learnt of the festival from McDull a famous hong kong animation film.

Historically it is based on the locals of the island who were plagued by bad seas and pirates (yes there is a pirate cave on the island) Then they bought a statue of Tin Hau to the island and all the bad stuff disappeared! So to celebrate the end of the oppression they made these buns, stamped with the Chinese character for peace, and hung them on their doors, ate them, offered them to the ghosts and gods for good luck.

According to the knowledge bank of Wiki, historically, young men would race up the tower to get hold of the buns; the higher the bun, the better fortune it was supposed to bring to the holder's family; the race was known as "Bun-snatching", the tradition has been going on and off for many years with modernization ordering the tower to be made of metal, mountain climbing scaffolding, and this year they had plastic buns as rain and buns made stick mess which people could slip on.

So it was a unique event that only happened once a year, and to my amazement none of the Hong Kong family had gone! We were going to go, we're young! eager to examine the old style of village lving. So armed with a few warnings, (take some food, (last year they didn't cater enough - this time they did, be aware of lots of people, yup there were and the bun climbing doesn't start until 11pm and there are only 1,500 tickets for the event)

We made our way over, the heat was amazing, 33 degree heat with a 95% humidity!It was exhausting just getting to the ferry from the MTR train station. But the island! What an event! the buzz there was so much to see and so little time, we admired the idols, the dedicated performers, the floating children ornately dressed, as mythical beings, stars and idols, one pair of kids depicted the current debacle taking place in Hong Kong Politics. According to the children Dressed as Education and Manpower Secretary Arthur Li Kwok Cheung and former permanent secretary for education Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun - in a suit and tie and green mandarin gown, respectively.

"I'm playing Li Kwok-Cheung, a person who fires people," the boy in focus told reporters.

The two officials are at the center of a month-long inquiry into alleged government interference in the affairs and academic freedom of the Hong Kong Institute of Education.

Despite the amazing costumes and displays, the heat was too oppressive and we had to leave before the end of the festival.

Floating Children Floating ChildrenFloating Children
Pak Tau Temple - the decorations on top of the temple were amazing

Exquisite ornaments on the eves above the temple door

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice Photos!

I have got some for 2008 here: