Cheung Chau Bun Festival: Worthy of Time and Money
Cheung Chau Bun Festival 2013 – 包山節 2013
When it happens: May 17 2013
Where it happens: Cheung Chau, Hong Kong
The origin of the Cheung Chau Bun Festival started in the island of Cheung Chau in the 18th century. It is said that the island was infiltrated by pirates and devastated by a plague. So, the local fishermen brought the image of Pak Tai to the island. Pak Tai is the Taoist god of the sea. They paraded the image through the lanes of the village, believing the deity will drive away the bad spirits. The villagers also disguised themselves as deities and walked around the island.
About the Festival:
Celebrated on the 8th day of the 4th lunar month, the Cheung Chau Bun Festival is held annually by rural communities in Hong Kong. It coincides with the celebration fo the birth of Buddha. The festival attracts tens of thousands of visitors from all over the world every year. It began as a thrilling ritual of the fishing communities, and has mainly showcased the traditional culture of the Chinese in the present time.
It is celebrated with various activities such as a seven-day long feast, where three of those days they go vegetarian. You can also witness lion and dragon dances, as well as children who are dressed in modern and legendary heroes. There is also a parade of floats, deities and the image of Pak Tai. Then, the Bun snatching is held where men climb up to get the buns. The higher he climbs the better fortune he will bring to his family. 45 minutes before midnight, they set to fire a paper effigy of the King of the Ghosts. Lastly, buns are distributed and all may rejoice.
Travel tips: If you come to the Cheung Chau Bun Festival, keep in mind that there will be three days of strict vegetarian feast. It will be very difficult for you to find a place that cooks meat if you are a carnivore. Even fast-food chains such as McDonald’s do not serve meat during these days. Do you want to see something amazing during the festival? At night, wander off to the harbour. There you will see a fleet of colourful fishing boats that will surely complete your day.
Final Thoughts: The Cheung Chau Bun Festival is a great opportunity for you to witness a colourful event near the harbour. The event is well-known for its rocket-high towers used in bun-snatching. The most interesting part is the children floating high in poles as they are carried through the streets. The festival is a beautiful event that you should attend. However, the price of the ferry to the island is very expensive. More people all over the world will come if they can afford the high price of the ferry plus other fees such as accommodations, food, and plane tickets. But if you can, the event is sure to be worth the money.