Festivities in Abundance: Cheung Chau’s Annual Bun Festival
Why We Recommend it
Held annually on the island of Cheung Chau, this festival features ‘bun mountains’, lion and dragon dances, Taoist rituals, parades in the air, and more.
The Cheung Chau Bun Festival (包山節) falls on the fifth to the ninth days of the fourth lunar month, and coincides with the local celebration of Buddha’s Birthday.
Legend says that the origins of the festival are in the late Qing dynasty, when the island of Cheung Chau was devastated by a plague and invaded by pirates. Local fishermen brought an image of the Taoist water deity Pak Tai (北帝), to the island to drive off the evil, while parading statues of, and dressing up as, other deities through the lanes of their village. As of today, these rituals are still performed in a festival that is listed as an intangible part of China’s cultural heritage.
Attractions of the Bun Festival include a parade of colourful floats, children dressed as legendary and modern heroes, Chinese operas, traditional dances, and a bun snatching contest (搶包山), where participants climb up steel towers covered in steamed lotus seed buns, trying to snatch the highest one.
Photo credit: @surrealhk