Rituals a study in village diversity

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 16 January, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 16 January, 2011, 12:00am

The Tai Ping Ching Chiu - which literally means 'the purest sacrifice celebrated for great peace' - is also known as the Jiao Festival. It is a communal Taoist ritual staged to pray for the well-being of the people.

Jiao festivals developed differently from one community to another. Most of them originated from praying for recovery from large-scale plagues in the 19th century. Taoist priests perform rituals to pacify wandering ghosts, accompanied by Cantonese opera performances. It is not only a religious ritual but also an important social activity that bonds members of the community.

The festival can be held at different times of the year depending on whether the community is engaged in farming or fishing. Some are held yearly, like the Bun Festival in Cheung Chau, while others are held once every 10 years, or even 60 years.