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May is the perfect month to visit Hong Kong: here’s why

May 01. 2019
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Hong Kong is honouring its Chinese past with three unique ancient festivals, namely the Cheung Chau Bun Festival and the birthdays of Buddha and Tam Hung.

“The Hong Kong Tourism Board is proud to support the culture and heritage that makes Hong Kong such a vibrant city,” said Anthony Lau, executive director of Hong Kong Tourism Board. “We invite visitors to immerse themselves in these ancient celebrations, which truly capture the colour and lively spirit of the city.”

From May 9 to 13, the Cheung Chau Bun Festival will take place on the charming island of Cheung Chau. The famed Bun Festival was named one of the “Top 10 Quirky Local Festivals” by Time Magazine and for good reason. As the story goes, the villagers summoned Pak Tai, a powerful deity, to protect them from a devastating plague, and then paraded through the streets to ward off evil spirits. For more than a century, the villagers have celebrated the festival with the vibrant Piu Sik (Floating Colours) Parade, papiermache effigies, Chinese opera performances, lion dances, and delicious food throughout the week. 


Where do the buns come in? Every year, local vendors produce tens of thousands of ping on bao, aka “lucky buns”. Be sure to mark your calendar for the main event: On May 12 at 11.30pm, the mind-boggling Bun Scrambling Competition takes off. Competitors scale a 14-metre-tall bamboo tower covered with 9,000 imitation buns and try to collect as many buns as possible in three minutes.

From May 6 to 12, the city marks Buddha’s Birthday with a week of carnivals and spiritual experiences. A common ritual is Bathing the Buddha, where worshippers wash Buddha statues with water to show respect. Then there’s the Celebration Carnival for Buddha’s Birthday in Victoria Park, the Buddhist Birthday Charity Concert at the Hong Kong Coliseum, and various events at Po Lin Monastery, on lush Lantau Island.

May 12 is considered the birthday of Tam Kung – a sea deity worshipped by fishing communities. Tam Kung is known for his ageless face and ability to forecast the weather. Every fourth lunar month, villagers celebrate the god at the centuryold Tam Kung Temple in Shau Kei Wan. One of the highlights is the lion and dragon dance parade, which begins on Shau Kei Wan Street Main East and ends at Tam Kung Temple. 

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