/ The Hong Kong Guide
Hong Kong — By Jessy DB on September 14, 2009 at 9:49 pm

8 Traditional and Modern Festivals in Hong Kong this Fall

Hong Kong is a wonderful place full of diverse cultures and flourishing traditions. Being born and raised in this melting pot of ethnicities and backgrounds, I’m always discovering new and interesting events ongoing in the city.

 

Many Chinese festivals, which follow the Chinese Lunar calendar, occur throughout the year. As a child, I experienced a number of these, yet somehow each year I’m mesmerized by them in new and different ways. What’s more, with a growing western and international population, every year there are more and more events and happenings to look forward to.

 

Here’s a list of sure fire ways to experience the thriving city of Hong Kong this Fall.

 

 

1. Hong Kong Wetland Dragonfly Festival

 

Through till 30 September, the Hong Kong Wetland Park is offering a fun-filled excursion for families and friends across the region. This thematic exhibition takes you into the world of dragonflies, with paper-cutting arts roving exhibitions, DIY workshops, dragonfly tours, performing arts, snapshot competitions and public lectures.

 

Located in the northern district of Tin Shui Wah, New Territiroes, the Hong Kong Wetland Park was originally intended to be an ecological mitigation area, which was then commissioned by the Agriculture and Fisheries Department and Hong Kong Tourism Board to become a world-class wetland ecotourism attraction.

 

In this 61-hectare park, witness the conservation of ecosystems and learn more about the environment around you through hands-on experiences. The Dragonfly Festival is the perfect example of a modern event that allows you to experience Hong Kong as a continuously evolving place. It’s fun for children and adults alike and is a wonderful way to see Hong Kong in a more ecological setting.

 

Visit www.wetlandpark.com to book your tickets online. Price is HK$30.

 

fireworks2. National Day

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, there will be a fantastical fireworks display on 1 October over the Victoria Habour from 8pm to 8.23pm. This is a multi-million dollar sound and light show that will attract families and friends across the country to commemorate China’s National Day.

The government has organized numerous celebratory activities including exhibitions, youth exchange programs, community activities and cultural and sports events for the special occasion. There is even an ongoing exchange program to mainland China that gives young Hong Kong residents the chance to experience Chinese culture in its roots.

 

For more info CLICK HERE

 

 lanternfestival3. Mid-Autumn Festival (also known as the Lantern Festival)

On 3 October this year, the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival takes place under the brightest moon of the year. As one of the most colourful annual events that occurs under the brightest moon in the Lunar calendar, the festival is filled with Chinese paper lanterns in various shapes, colours and sizes.

Among many other things, the festival commemorates a 14th Century uprising against the Mongols, where the rebels wrote the call to revolt on pieces of paper embedded in cakes that were smuggled to nationals.

 

It is truly a family occasion, as parents take their children to high vantage points such as The Peak to light their lanterns late at night and watch the spectacular autumn moon rising while eating delicious special sweet cakes called “moon cakes” made of ground lotus, sesame seed paste and egg yolk (taste it before you judge!).

 

The Mid-Autumn Festival is one of my most favourite times of the year, filled with happenings that everyone can enjoy. Teenagers and their friends usually gather on public beaches such as Repulse Bay Beach to lie on the sand under the autumn night sky with glow sticks and lanterns. Public parks like Victoria Park are also popular destinations to experience the Mid-Autumn Festival, as they are adorned with numerous decorations for the festivities.

 

If you are in the Victoria Park area in Causeway Bay for the three nights of the Mid-Autumn Festival, you can even see a 67-metre long “fire dragon” dance through the streets of Tai Hang, providing a most alluring sight for visitors who witness its splendor.

 

The story behind the fire dragon dance took place more than a hundred years ago when Tai Hang was still a coastal village full of farmers and fishermen. Just days before the Mid-Autumn Festival, a typhoon tore through the village, damaging everything that lay in its path. While the villagers were repairing the remains of the disaster, a python showed up and ate their livestock. It was believed that the python was the son of the Dragon King and an oracle declared that the only way to end the chaos was to stage a fire dance for three days and nights during the Mid-Autumn Festival. The villagers then made a giant straw dragon covered with incense sticks, which they lit amongst drummers and firecrackers as they danced for three days and three nights, until the curse disappeared.

 

 

4. Monkey God Festival

 

On 4 October, people pay tribute to the Monkey God on its birthday by burning incense and paper offerings. The Monkey God Temple is located in Sau Mau Ping in Kowloon.

 

I’ve never actually celebrated the Monkey God’s birthday though this is a great way to experience Chinese traditions and practices. Like other Chinese festivals, the story behind this one is also most interesting.

 

In a classic Chinese novel entitled Journey to the West or Pilgrim to the West from the Ming dynasty (1386 – 1644), this mischievous god was redeemed and gained Buddhist immortality after helping a monk on his pilgrimage to the West to receive the teachings of Lord Buddha.

 

To this day, the adventures of the Monkey God are highly enjoyed in Western and Eastern cultures, as depicted in TV shows, many movies and most recently, a stage production entitled Monkey: Journey to the West – a ‘circus opera’ created by Chinese actor and director Chen Shi-zheng, with British musician Damon Albarn and artist Jamie Hewlett.

 

For more on Monkey: Journey to the West visit www.monkeyjourneytothewest.com

 

 

5. Birthday of Confucius

 

15 October marks the birth date of one of China’s most influential philosophers. Confucius’ teachings and ethics concentrate on self-enlightenment through the Five Virtues of charity, justice, propriety, wisdom and loyalty. To this day, devoted followers demonstrate their ancestral worship and Confucius beliefs. You can experience these traditional practices during the Ching Ming and Chung Yeung festivals.

 

 

hongkong-cemetery6. Chung Yeung Festival (also known as the Autumn Remembrance)

 

On 26 October, the Chung Yeung Festival takes place, and is a day devoted to the remembrance of Chinese ancestors.

 

Similar to the Ching Ming Festival (also known as the Spring Remembrance), the Autumn Remembrance brings families together to pay their respects and perform cleansing rites on the graves of their ancestors. They share food and special Chinese cakes called “ko”, which means “top”, and is said to bring those who eat it to the top.

 

On this day people also go hiking and have picnics, as it commemorates a Han Dynasty (BC 202-AD 220) legend, which tells the story of an oracle that told a man to bring his family to a high place for the whole of the ninth day of the ninth moon. When the family returned, they found that all living things in their village had been slaughtered.

 

 

7. Architecture is Art Festival

 

From 1 September to 18 October, you can experience multimedia theatre performances, exhibitions, public seminars, conferences and workshops on architecture as an art form at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre on Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui.

 

Hong Kong is a wondrous city filled with amazing architecture, yet our understanding of it lies in its economic dimension. This is where the Architecture is Art Festival comes in as a way of opening the eyes of individuals to the world of architecture as an art form.

 

Re-examine architecture from an artistic point of view, through different art forms, with some of Asia’s most talented architects and artists.

 

Visit www.aiaf.hk for more

 

 

8. Soho Wine & Dine Carnival

 

Finally, an event for the modern city person, the Soho Wine & Dine Carnival is set to take place on 6, 7 & 8 November.

 

How do you get there? If you’re taking the MTR, hop off the train at Central station on the red and blue lines, and look for exit D2. Once outside, walk around the corner to Queen’s Road, then turn right, and walk down the road until you see the Central-Mid-Levels Escalator sign. Get on the escalator and get carried up to Soho.

 

For more, visit www.ilovesoho.com

 

 

There you have it, 8 excellent ways to experience Hong Kong amidst its traditional cultures and modern developments! Check back for more updates on these upcoming events from your Hong Kong Guide.

 

 

 

Related posts:

2009 Mid-Autumn Lantern Carnivals across Hong Kong

Mid-Autumn Thematic Lantern Exhibition

Creative October in Hong Kong



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