A Happy Mid-Autumn Festival to the Tai Hang Fire Dragon!

September 13, 2011 at 7:18 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How quickly a year flies! It’s Mid-Autumn Festival again, when throughout China delicious moon cakes are eaten, beautiful lanterns go on display, and we remember all the old Chinese legends relating to the Moon.

But here in Hong Kong there’s another special celebration, when the people of the district of Tai Hang perform an amazing dragon dance through the streets, for 3 nights in a row! Thanks to my dear friend (and famous poet and photographer) Madeleine Marie Slavick, I was lucky enough to see the spectacular Tai Hang Dragon Dance for myself from her roof garden just above the crowds!

Legend has it that in 1880, when the Hong Kong district of Tai Hang (just near Hong Kong’s Central Library) was just a small Hakka village, a series of terrible disasters befell the village culminating in a dreadful plague. One of the village elders had a vivid dream in which Buddha instructed the villagers to light firecrackers and perform a dragon dance for the 3 days and 3 nights of the Mid-Autumn Festival.  The villagers did as the dream instructed, and the plague disappeared! (Some say it was the sulphur in the firecrackers which killed the germs!) So ever since, every year, the ritual is repeated.

Here are some photos that I took. The magnificent dragon is 67 metres long, and spiked with 72,000 burning incense sticks!!

It starts with a parade:

Then the thrilling beat of the drums, warning of the dragon’s approach:

Around the corner, the first tantalizing glimpse of the dragon’s tail, bristling with incense sticks:

At last! The first sight of the dragon’s fiery head, with its brilliantly glowing eyes!

It circles round:

And around…

Before winding up the street…            And circling around again!

Last but not least, no Chinese Festival parade would be complete without…

The skirl of the bagpipes!!!

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