When: To be conform Where: Cheung Chau Island, Hong Kong
Cheung Chau Bun Festival, a colourful and lively event takes place on the island of Cheung Chau of Hong Kong, where handmade buns are offered to the sea God, Pak Tai, thanking him for protecting the island and to ward off the evil spirits. Everybody on the island goes vegetarian three days before the festival and a procession is held on the last day. The major highlight of the Cheung Chau Bun Festival are the huge bamboo towers covered with steamed buns which are set up near the Pak Tai temple, where most of the celebrations take place.
Earlier, people used to climb up the bun towers and compete for buns, as they were considered to be blessed. This tradition of bun-snatching was closed down after a mishap where the bun towers buckled under the weight of too many climbers and many people were injured. Since then, there is no more competition and nowadays, the bun-snatching is done by skilled climbers and on a steel structure tower. Also, buns are made of plastic to prevent them from disintegrating into slippery pulp as the racers climb to the top. Some of these are also sold as knick-knacks of the Cheung Chau Bun Festival.
Celebrations of Cheung Chau Bun Festival
The celebrations of the Cheung Chau Bun Festival involve parades, dance performances, beating of the drums, prayers and rituals. Children come dressed like deities, in colourful costumes to scare away the evil spirits. The deity of Pak Tai is worshipped and evil spirits are kept off by loud gongs and drums during the procession. After the bun-snatching ceremony is over, the buns are distributed to the people. These buns are also available at local bakeries. The festival itself is a blend of coming together, praying to gods, and to steer the lost spirits.
Bun Festival at Cheung Chau
With Bun Festival around the corner, Cheung Chau is truly worth visiting to take a short break away.
Cheung Chau Island is located at a distance of 12 kms from Hong Kong Island. The only way of getting to Cheung Chau is via a ferry service, from Central Pier 5 on Hong Kong Island. Ferries between Central and Cheung Chau run approximately at every 30 minutes interval.