Dragon Boat Day is a wonderful, colourful festival which takes place in June each year. Dragon Boat Races are held in many locations in Hong Kong such as Stanley, Sha Tin, Mui Wo, Discovery Bay.
The Dragon Boat Festival commemorates the life and death of the ancient poet, Qu Yuan, who lived from 340-278 B.C. He was appalled by state corruption and commited suicide by throwing himself in a river. When the people of his native state heard what he had done, they rushed out in their fishing boats and tried desperatedly to save him. They beat drums and splashed water in order to keep the fish and evil spirits away from his body. Then later they scattered rice into the water to prevent him from being hungry and also to feed the fishes in the river so that they would not devour his body.
I used to live in Sha Tin and watch the races on the Shing Mun River. I've also see them on Stanley Main Beach, but nowadays I am more likely to watch them in Discovery Bay since I live there. In Discovery Bay the whole event turns into a carnival with food stalls and market stalls and live musical performances. It is good fun.
One of my favourite Chinese Festivals is Mid Autumn Festival or lantern festival. It is celebrated at the end of September or beginning of October on the night of a full moon. People go out at night carrying lanterns. They normally head to a park or beach and sit and gaze at the full moon and eat mooncakes and brightly cooured round fruits.
The festival is based on a legend in which a famous archer, Houyi, was asked by the Chinese emperor to shoot down nine of the ten suns that exsisted in the sky at that time as they were scorching the Earth. Houyi did so and was rewarded with a pill that could make him immortal. He was advised that the pill was so strong he should only consume half of it. Houyi hid the pill in his home, but while he was out his beautiful wife, Chang'e found the pill and consumed all of it. The pill was so strong she flew out of the house and floated up to the moon. She asked the moon hare to make her a new pill so she could return to her husband. and hundreds of years later the moon hare is still trying to make the pill. Meanwhile Houyi is able to visit Chang'e on the moon once a year during the Mid-Autumn Festival on the night of the full moon.
Ninth Moon, Day 9 (in September/October)
The Chung Yeung Festival is a day to respect and remember ancestors.
Also known as Autumn Remembrance, this festival is similar to Ching Ming in the spring, in that families journey to the graves of their ancestors to perform cleansing rites and pay their respects. They share the food they bring along, especially Chinese cakes, ko, which is a homonym of the word for "top". Some believe that those who eat these cakes will be promoted to the top.
It is also a day for hiking. The Chung Yeung Festival commemorates a Han Dynasty (BC 202-AD 220) legend, which tells how a soothsayer advised Woon King that he should take his family to a high place for the entire ninth day of the ninth moon. Upon their return, the Woon family discovered all living things in their village had been slaughtered. Today, many Hong Kong families head to the hills to picnic during the Chung Yeung Festival.
With the cooler weather and clear skies at this time of the year, many people simply take the opportunity to go on one of Hong Kong's many hikes. Why not join a hiking tour for the day!
Lai See packets are generally red envelopes (although gold is a secondary colour) that contain money.
It is good luck to give and receive these packets just after the Chinese New Year. (Generally in late January).
You should give them to sub-ordinates and unmarried friends.
You should not give them to your Boss (he would be offended) or married peers.
Normally you would expect to find a new HK$20 in the packet.
If you are lucky you will find $100 or more depending on the wealth/generousity of the giver.
Try these link - first one is in chinese butyou can still see the pictures, the other link is the official site of HK Tourist Board.
It shows all the main festivals in HK and dates in 2009.
Main chinese festivals are:
Chinese new year
Dragon Boat Festival, here we have the international dragonboat race
Mid-Autumn Festival, meaning the full moon or lantern festival
Only-in-Hong-Kong Festival which I think the most awesome is the Cheung Chau Bun Festival, you can find more pictures here. http://www.flickr.com/photos/21172132@N07/sets/72157605064994755/
The Fire dragon dance in Tai Hang during Mid-Autumn Festival is also a must see!!
Hope the above helps.
Definition:Dragon Boat Racing is the Asian equivilent of the Oxbridge race, albeit with a shorter paddle , a drummer to boot and a dragon's head on the prow. Normally celebrated in in Hong Kong in early June to mark the death of an ancient hero.
Where to see this:Stanley Bay and various other locations
(see link below for more details)
Since arriving in HK about a month, Hubby has assimilated nicely in his new home. So comfortable is he that his mates have recruited him as a team member in the annual Dragon Boat contest . Dragon Boat Racing is BIG over here, so big that it is a public holiday on its own.This sport orginated from China when a Chinese national hero, Qu Yuan,drowned himself some 2000 years ago to protest against corrupted officials. His suicide drove the local folks nuts since the sods took to their boats, beat some drums loudly to scare the living hell out of all the fish in the river and later threw lots of tasty rice dumplings to prevent the same fish from feasting on their hero. Yes, grief drives us to do odd things sometimes.
Still, I'm proud to say that my husband is now carrying on this proud tradition of rowing the dragon boat in Hong Kong. Though this sport was available in Singapore, we were never really into it as most Singaporeans care more about the fish fodder, I meant dumplings, than about dragon boat racing. It's true, most of us would rather spend up to S$20 for glutinous rice dumplings stuffed with abalone, chestnuts and other exotic ingredients then paddle a boat in the river and get a really bad sunburn. I'm no exempt.
My knowledge of Duan Wu Jie ( The Dragonboat Festival ) is sadly limited to dumplings. It's a real pity I can't make it to HK in time for this event but trust me, I will be in Stanley Bay next year about this time to cheer for hubby, with poms poms and maybe a dumpling or two.
Note:Hubby's team came in 7th this year and they celebrated over beer, not dumplings.
Officially on falling on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month (usually at the end of June), the Dragon Boat Festival is also known as Double Fifth Day.
The Dragon Boat Festival combines a fast-paced sporting spectacular with a traditional festival.
The Festival, also known as Tuen Ng Festival, commemorates the death of a popular Chinese national hero, Qu Yuan, who drowned himself in the Mi Lo River over 2,000 years ago to protest against the corrupt rulers. Legend says that as townspeople attempted to rescue him, they beat drums to scare fish away and threw dumplings into the sea to keep the fish from eating Qu Yuan's body.
The highlight of the festival is the fierce dragon boats racing. Teams race the elaborately decorated dragon boats to the beat of heavy drums.
During West Tsin dynasty, people started to have rice dumplings for the Dragon Boat Festival. These are basically savory or sweet rice dumplings. Each family made lots of dumplings so that there are plenty for themselves, for relatives, friends and teachers.
The festival, which means clear and bright, is held on the 1st day of the 5th lunar period (usually in the beginning of April). On this day most of Hong Kong flocks up to the burial areas in the New Territories for grave sweeping. Sweeping the graves of one's ancestors is something descendents do as a sign of respect. A proper sweeping consists of three steps: cleaning the grave, making offerings to ancestors and burning ceremonial money.
According to the legend, the day is in memory of Jie Zhitui who lived in the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476BC). At first, the festival was about Hanshi, which meant only eating cold food (no fire). It was not until the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) about 300 years ago that the practice of Hanshi was replaced by that of Qingming, which had now become an important occasion for people to offer rememberances and sacrifices to their ancestors.
The roads, and all public transport, to these areas are congested and often delayed, so it is a difficult time for visitors to travel here.
In Hong Kong the maidservants were everywhere with one day off we will call SUNDAYS. They appeared to be blessed by fellowship and compatriots together. They hundled around skill breaking games and families teaching love, kindness, and respect.
They looked forward to this day of holy and holiday cause they are determined to bring a brighter future to their dreamers. We could have walked 10 miles in each direction of downtown and still found a million and a half of workers all women and full of worship, prayers, and thank you's.
According to Chinese tradition, there is this day especially for the chinese to use paper human dolls to whack on it. The paper dolls represent the person whom you don't like and you wish to put him/her on bad luck.
A small piece of pork is placed on the white tiger's mouth while you can hit the paper dolls with your shoes plus 'cursing' at the same time.
Well i am trying my best to explain in simple terms ......sorry if this sounds a bit strange.
during christmas time every year, there is always a decoration there at the entrance of the Ocean Terminal ( which is next to the Star Ferry Pier in Tsim Sha Tsui ). The decoration is big and it plays music at on hourly basis.
Chung Yeung Festival falls on the 9th day of the 9th month of Lunar calendar. It is a day to remember and pay respect to our ancestors. People will conduct grave-sweeping and offerings to ancestors' graveyard. It is also a get-to-the-nature day for hiking. The festival is about a Han Dynasty (BC202 – AD220) legend. A soothsayer advised Woon King that there would be a disaster, and told him he should take his family to a high place for the entire 9th day of the 9th month. Woon King did it, and upon his return to his village, all living things in the village had been slaughtered.
"Poon Choi" also known as "Big Bowl Feast", is a type of age-old delicacy composed of different layers of ingredients served in wooden basins. The tradition of “Poon Choi” dates back to Song Dynasty (AD1270s) when China was invaded by the Mongolians and the imperial family was forced to flee south to Hong Kong. Villagers in the New Territories were endeavored to provide the imperial family with their best food they had. As they could not find sufficient nice containers, they used big wooden basin to serve the food. Formerly, it is a dish exclusive to walled villagers in the New Territories, which served only during religious rituals, festivals, special occasions and wedding banquets, and usually shared only among family members or their disciples. Nowadays, Poon Choi can be enjoyed at many restaurants throughout the year. And because of hygine reason, many of them changed to use metal basin instead of wooden ones.
This celebration takes place on the 15th day of the 8th moon (usually August/Sept) and celebrates a 14th century uprising against the Mongols. The conspirators wrote plans for the revolt on pieces of paper baked in cakes and then distributed them to compatriots.
Moon Cakes are one of the delicacies at this time and can be filled with sesame seeds, ground lotus seeds and sometimes a duck egg.
I went to Causeway Bay (Victoria Park) during the festival to watch the families all light their lanterns and watch the children lighting their candles.
Seventh Moon, Day 15 (in July/August)
For one long lunar month during the Hungry Ghost Festival, ghosts are said to roam the earth.
In some areas of Hong Kong, visitors can see small roadside fires, where believers burn paper money and other offerings to appease the restless spirits.
Local festivals feature Chinese opera. Popular venues are King George V Memorial Park in Kowloon and Moreton Terrace Playground in Causeway Bay.
If you find some unwanted coins scattered on the street, please don't try to pick them. They are for the 'Ox Head Horse Face" who patronizes the ghosts.
The Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong Branch will held the talk on Ghost Festival, please check:Calendar