Fire Dragon Dance: Mid-Autumn Festival in Hong Kong #2

 

The moment stepping in Wan Sha Street, one would immediately be drowned into the atmosphere of joy and festival. We can sense the liveliness from the sky above and the ground under.

In Chinese expression, people sometimes use “smoke and fire” (renjian yanhuo 人間煙火) to represent the hustle and bustle of everyday life. For those who come to Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance show for the first time, here is undoubtedly a wonderland filled with actual smoke and fire.

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The Fire Dragon Dance is performed by villagers for three consecutive days, with these festive decorative lightings during the Mid-Autumn Festival every year in Tai Hang.

The Fire Dragon Dance is said to have its origin in 1880, when Tai Hang was still a small Hakka village. Similar to Chinese New Year’s firecrackers, the purpose of Fire Dragon Dance originally is to chase away misfortune and disease.

Tracing back to its history, the whole tale began when a serpent was killed by the villagers, yet a plague spread out after the disappearance of its dead body. Mysteriously, a villager said Buddha came to his dream one night and gave him a hint to put a halt to the plague – by burning firecrackers and performing a Fire Dragon Dance as the sulfur released could drive away the disease. The village, surprisingly, is being saved; since then, the tradition is carried on by generations. Now, the fire dragon dance becomes a grand pageant for Hong Kong people during Mid-Autumn Festival.

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The 220 feet long dragon is stuffed with incense sticks which are all lit and operated by over 300 Tai Hang residents.
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Tai Hang Fire Dragon is regarded as National Intangible Cultural heritage. The dragon would wander around the neighborhood and return to the main street to do the special performance.

One can definitely feel the sense of ritual in this activity, since it requires a large-scale community work which united man and women, old and young of the village. Not to mention it holds a history of continuum over a hundred years.

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Incense sticks are replaced and given out to the public as a blessing after the first round of the parade.
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Everyone is involved – the kids, the adults, and even the foreigners participate in this festive event; the parade of float creates sounds and music to strengthen the atmosphere.

It’s quite a smoothing while exciting experience, where one can immerse themselves in the ocean of drumbeats and sweat, sharing the moment with strangers who originally busy going through their own journey.

We all stopped and sigh, at the night of full moon.