‘Cheung Chau Bun Festival’ is the most iconic festival celebrated on the ‘Cheung Chau’ island of ‘Hong Kong.’ The festival is held every year in early May and is celebrated for seven days throughout the island with the undying spirit & zest! The island where vehicles are not allowed except in emergency, the traditional ‘Cheung Chau Bun’ Festival is celebrated in the presence of thousands of foreign tourists which congregate here to participate in this vibrant celebration.
The Legend of Bun Festival:-
The anecdote of the origin of this fun festival drags us back in the 18th century when the entire island had fallen prey to the notorious plague & subsequent famine. The weakened island was further assaulted by obnoxious pirates, which has taken the grief of island people beyond the tolerance.
The helpless local fishermen then decided to get the holy replica of the god ‘Pak Tai’ to the island in order to tackle with the unending sorrows of the island. They marched with their deity through the lanes of the small towns. With the arrival of a savior, fortune smiled once again as the wicked spirits which were hovering over the island, were kicked away & the peace & affluence had returned back to the island once again.
Although the Bun festival was originated as a ‘Thanks giving week’ in order to appreciate the god’s valor to protect the colonies of the fishermen from the menacing evils; nowadays its basic importance has been overlooked by the locals & the festival is now regarded merely as an exhibition of veteran Chinese culture.
- Snatch the Buns! :-
This is the most important ritual of the festival wherein three mammoth ‘Bun mountains’ or ‘Bun Towers’ are constructed outside the holy temple of ‘Pak Tai’.
The ‘Bun Towers’ are made up of bamboo & raises up to 60-feet in height. All the mountains are fully clad with buns. As per the ritual, young men have to compete to climb to the tower to snatch the buns, higher the bun, better would be the future of the snatcher’s family. This unique ritual is reckoned as ‘Bun Snatching’!
- Floating Parade:-
This parade acts as a showcase of the Chinese traditions wherein children are securely suspended in the air on the tips of paper fans & swords. All the children dress to replicate the Chinese mythological heroes & their parent’s reputation surges when they become part of the parade.
The band of musicians accompanies the parade beating their drums as loudly as they can to shove away wicked forces. An outstanding idol of the ‘Pak tai’ leads the procession on whose sake, the festival is celebrated.
The traditional lion & dragon dancers make the procession much more energetic, colorful & lively.
- Go Veggie! :-
The festival is organized every year on the 8th day of the 4th month of the traditional Chinese lunar calendar. Out of seven days, first three days are observed as complete vegetarian days wherein all kinds of the meat dishes are debarred from the daily meals. Even the local restaurants follow this custom & offer myriad dishes made up of mushrooms & veggies as a replacement to the meat!
The Cheung Chau Bun Festival is indeed a festival of its own kind & draws myriad local, as well as foreign tourists every year. This festival is one of the major attractions among the tourists & is renowned as the one of the most delightful displays of rich Chinese heritage!