Whole Hong Kong and Cheung Chau Island have been preparing for the last 12 months for the annual Cheung Chau Bun Festival. The Cheung Chau Bun Festival (also known as Cheung Chau Da Jiu Festival) is one of the most important festival and culture events in Hong Kong.
Listed on the National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage by the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China, this festival is one of a kind and one of the most remarkable and spectacular festivals one can witness. The Cheung Chau Bun Festival is celebrated this year on May 6th 2014 or on the 8th day of the fourth month of the Lunar calendar.
The tradition of the Cheung Chau Bun Festival started in the late Qing dynasty. A devastating plague confronted the small island of Cheung Chau. As a last way out the islander petitioned the Taoist god Pak Tai to drive away the evil spirits by parading statues and other deities through their village. The plague finally ended after the performance. However, the ritual remains after 100 years to commemorate the people who died in the plague. The Cheung Chau Bun Festival was born.
During May 3rd to May 7th, 2014, the weeklong Cheung Chau Bun Festival is full of traditions and includes Taoist ceremonies, music, parades, lion dances, drum beating, Chinese Opera performances and special food. However, the highlights of the Cheung Chau Bun Festival are the exciting and spectacular Bun Scrambling Competition (or as some people refer to Bun Fighting Competition) as well as the Piu Sik (Floating Colours) Parade. Both events take place on May 6th, 2014 (which is also Buddha’s Birthday and a Public Holiday in Hong Kong).
The Piu Sik (Floating Colours) Parade is a dramatic re-enactment of the ceremonial parade held to drive away the plague a century ago. The Carnival-like procession will proceed through Cheung Chau’s small and narrow lanes. Over 20 decorated floats as well as lion dancers, musicians and acrobats will join this colorful parade. Each float will have two young children dressed up as deities and modern celebrities balancing on poles and “floating” through the air. Some of the floats ate still carried through the narrow lanes of Cheung Chau the traditional way: four strong men carry the heavy float on their shoulders. The Piu Sik (Floating Colours) Parade starts around 2pm and will take around 2 hours.
Insider Tip: In case you would enjoy the colorful Piu Sik (Floating Colours) Parade we highly recommend arriving early to secure a good spot to watch and enjoy this special event. Expect large crowds since this parade is one of the highlights of the Cheung Chau Bun event.
The spectacular Bun Scrambling Competition is the other main highlight of the Cheung Chau Bun Festival and starts around midnight on May 6th, 2014 at the Soccer Field of the Pak tai Temple Playground (please note that admission to the Bun Scrambling Competition is by ticket only. Tickets can be obtained for free on a first-come, first-served basis from 10pm at the Pak She First Lane next to the Pak Tai Temple). Selected contestants have to climb a 14-metre-high scrambling tower consisting and covered with over 9,000 buns. Within the 3-minute race to the top of the bun tower the participants of the Bun Festival have to collect, snatch and grab as many buns as possible. Usually, the contestants rush to the top of the bun tower first since the buns on the top of the bun tower have the highest value or score. The contestant who has the highest score will win the spectacular Bun Scrambling Competition.
Aside from the Piu Sik (Floating Colours) Parade and Bun Scrambling (Bun Snatching) Competition visitors have not only a chance to explore and experience the small Island of Cheung Chau, but also to experience traditional Chinese opera performances, Lion and Unicorn Dances, Kung-Fu performances as well as ritual, traditional and Chinese Acrobatic performances and special food snacks such as the delicious Cheung Chau’s Lucky Buns filled with either with sesame, lotus or red bean during this spectacular traditional and cultural Hong Kong festival.
When and where does the Cheung Chau Bun Festival take place:
Date: May 3 – 7, 2014 May 6: 2:00pm – 4:00 pm Piu Sik (Floating Colours) Parade 11:30pm – 12:25am Bun Scrambling Competition Venue: Cheung Chau Island
How to get to the Cheung Chau Bun Festival:
Simply take a ferry from the Central Pier 5 to Cheung Chau Island. The ferry ride takes approx. 35-60 minutes. Please note that the ferry will operate between 12:30am to 11:45pm. At the day of the Bun Scrambling Competition the ferry service will be extended.