The famous Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance — an integral part of Hong Kong’s Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations — will return this year after being cancelled for three years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The dance, which has been held for more than 140 years, will be held every night from September 28-30 in the neighbourhood of Tai Hang, from 8.15pm-10.30pm on the first two nights, and 8.15pm-10pm on the last night.
While there are other fire dragon dances held in the territory, the one in Tai Hang is the most well-known. Residents in the area build a 67-metre-long dragon out of 72,000 incense sticks — the head itself weighing 48kg — which is paraded through the neighbourhood for three nights during the Mid-Autumn Festival.
The parade comprises 300 dancers, who are recruited and trained months in advance for the festivities, as well as more than 20 children who hold lanterns and walk in front of the dragon.
The dance is said to have first been held in 1880 when the villagers of Tai Hang constructed a fire dragon with joss sticks and set off firecrackers in a bid to end a plague.
The procession starts at the historic Lin Ka Fung Temple and makes its way through the various streets that criss-cross Tai Hang. The best place to get a good view of the parade is at the intersection of Shepherd Street and Wun Sha Street.
In 2011, the Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance was included in the third national list of intangible cultural heritage, along with the Cheung Chau Bun Festival, the Tai O Dragon Boat Water Parade, and the Yu Lan Ghost Festival of the Hong Kong Chiu Chow community.
The other popular parade held during this time of year is the Pok Fu Lam Village Fire Dragon Dance, which will take place on September 29 from 6.30pm-11.45pm.
Header image credits: janetcmt via Flickr