Celebrate a colourful April with Hong Kong's cultural celebrations
Immerse yourself in Hong Kong's cultural heritage at this year's vibrant Cultural Celebrations taking place from 13 -29 April. This festival celebrates four fascinating traditional Chinese festivals, birthdays of Tin Hau, Lord Buddha and Tam Kung and the Cheung Chau Bun Festival, which are sure to invigorate all the senses. From colourful parades, processions, Dragon dances to Kung Fu demonstrations and delicious food, there is something for everyone.
13th April - Birthday of Tin Hau
Tin Hau, the goddess of the seas, birthday is celebrated by both Fishermen and sporting clubs especially those associated by Kung Fu and other Martial Arts practitioners. With more than 70 temples around Hong Kong dedicated to Tin Hau, various celebrations are held during her birthday. One of the biggest celebrations takes place at the oldest Tin Hau Temple at Joss House Bay in Sai Kung. A colourful parade of decorated boats sails towards the temple, carrying worshipers and Fa Pau (floral wreath), which are constructed by each village. Colourful Lion dances are performed with lots of drums and gongs.
28th April - Cheung Chau Bun Festival
This colourful annual festival celebrates the god Pak Tai, which is unique to the tiny island of Cheung Chau will leave you spellbound.
Cheung Chau was devastated by a plague in the late Qing dynasty (1644-1912). Local residents set up a sacrificial altar in front of Pak Tai Temple to pray to the god, to drive off evil spirits. The residents even paraded the deity's statue through the village lanes and when the performance of the ritual ended so did the plague. Since then, residents on Cheung Chau have organised a Bun Festival every year to express thanks to the god for blessing and protecting them.
The weeklong festival climaxes with a large, carnival-like street procession featuring costumed children on stilts held above the crowd and lion dances. The parade winds its way through the narrow streets to the grounds near the Pak Tai Temple, which are dominated by enormous bamboo towers studded with sweet white buns, and where the main festivities take place. Then at midnight, athletes scramble up one of the towers in a contest to get one of the highest buns on the tower, considered to be the luckiest.
28th April - Birthday of Lord Buddha
The Birthday of Lord Buddha is a celebration of great reverence in Hong Kong's Buddhist temples. Worshippers show their devotion by bathing Buddha's statue. Celebrations centre round the major monasteries in Hong Kong. Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island, home to the world's largest, seated, outdoor bronze Buddha, draws the biggest crowds at this time of year.
28th April - Birthday of Tam Kung
The birthday of Tam Kung is celebrated only in Hong Kong and is second in importance to birthday of Tin Hau. Another patron saint of seafarers, Tam Kung brings security and happiness to all fishermen.His birthday is celebrated with considerable devotion and fanfare at the Tam Kung Temple in Shau Kei Wan on Hong Kong Island. Similar to the Tin Hau festivities, the seafarers celebrate in order to secure safety and good luck during the coming year.
For more information on the festivities, visit discoverhongkong.com.