Cheung Chau Bun Festival

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Cheung Chau Bun Festival

April-May; date decided by divination; usually about eight days between the end of third lunar month and 10th day of fourth lunar month
This festival is one of the most spectacular events in Hong Kong, celebrated only on Cheung Chau (which means "Long Island" in Chinese), one of the outlying islands of Hong Kong. It is believed that restless ghosts roam the island during the eight-day festival. Some believe they are the spirits of islanders massacred by 19th-century pirates. Others claim they are people who died of a plague in the early 20th century or that they are spirits of people whose remains were disturbed by people building new houses.
Three bamboo-and-paper towers, up to about 60 feet high and covered with sweet pink and white buns, are dedicated to the spirits and intended to placate them. People burn paper replicas of houses, cars, and money. The buns placed highest in the towers traditionally are held to be the luckiest, and people used to climb up the towers in a race to get them. But after a serious accident in 1978, the buns now are passed down the towers.
At the island's Pak Tai Temple, rites are held to honor Pak Tai, known as a Taoist king of the Dark Heaven or the Underworld. He is worshipped as a god of the sea who defeated a demon king and the king's allies, a tortoise and a serpent. The temple holds many small wooden statues of Pak Tai, all with a tortoise under one foot and a serpent under the other.
To pay homage to the animals and fish who serve as residents' food, only vegetarian dishes are served during the festival, and some people also make offerings to the animals' spirits.
In the highlight of the festival, the images of the temple gods are carried in a procession of lion and dragon dancers and children aged about five to eight, who are costumed as legendary Chinese figures. These children seem to float above the procession, but in reality they are held up by poles to which they are attached as adults carry them through the streets.
CONTACTS:
Hong Kong Tourism Board
115 E. 54th St., 2nd Fl.
New York, NY 10022
212-421-3382; fax: 212-421-8428
www.discoverhongkong.com
Cheung Chau Bun Festival
CHEUNGCHAU.ORG
China
www.cheungchau.org
SOURCES:
BkHolWrld-1986, May 25
GdWrldFest-1985, p. 105
IntlThFolk-1979, p. 197
WildPlanet-1995, p. 309
References in periodicals archive ?
Also known as the bun festival, people make papier-mache effigies of deities, bake buns and build a bamboo tower to celebrate Cheung Chau Bun Festival in Hong Kong.
The cremation ritual is an important tradition in the Puri Agung Ubud royal family USA Workers prepare to remove the Star Jet roller coaster that has been in the ocean for six months after the Casino Pier it sat on collapsed when Superstorm Sandy hit Seaside Heights, New Jersey HONG KONG Men remove scaffolding from towers clad in thousands of buns in preparation for Cheung Chau's traditional Bun Festival JESSICA HROMAS/ GETTY IMAGES
Starting with the Lunar New Year celebrations, and then the birthdays of various deities, excitement builds up with the Cheung Chau Bun Festival on May 21, the Dragon Boat Festival on June 16, later followed by the magical Mid-Autumn Festival on September 22.
A ferry ride will take you to Cheung Chau Island, about 10k southwest, which plays host to the annual Cheung Chau Bun Festival that takes place over eight days in early May.
And, by a quirk of the lunar calendar, it was also the day for the annual Bun Festival in Cheung Chau.
htm May 26 Cheung Chau Bun Festival It is believed that each year the hungry ghosts of pirates' victims roam this peaceful island in search of food.
Four traditional festivals, including the Cheung Chau Bun Festival on May 18-22, with its parade of children dressed as mythological characters and the lively Bun Tower Scrambling Competition, raise the curtain of Festive Hong Kong 2010.