Dragons, dancing lions and a great big party

Tai Kok Tsui's 12-hour temple fair aims to bring community together and celebrate local culture

PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 March, 2014, 5:17am
UPDATED : Monday, 03 March, 2014, 5:13pm

The buses and cars of Tai Kok Tsui gave way to dancing lions and dragons yesterday, during a 12-hour cultural bash attended by thousands, including the chief secretary.

Organised annually by the Mong Kong Kai Fong Association, and themed "Under the same sky, we will create a new world", the Tai Kok Tsui Temple Fair entered its 10th year yesterday, delivering all of its usual flair and colour.

The day's events began with a festive parade spearheaded by 18 gold, red and silver lion dancers representing good fortune for the city's 18 districts.

This was followed by a marching troupe carrying national and Hong Kong flags and a procession carrying models of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac.

A section of Fuk Tsun Street, where the famous Hung Shing Temple is located, was closed off for the event.

In the evening, a "thousand-man" poon choi banquet was held - a traditional meal in communal pots filled with layers of seafood, meat and vegetables.

Other events included Chinese dance, ballet, Korean drum dance, traditional songs and a fashion show featuring Miss Asia pageant contestants.

The grand finale was a 500-foot-long "luminous night dragon" dance performance.

"I was waiting for the dragon performance the whole day. I come here to see it every year," said Yau Ma Tei resident Wong Lai-ping, a retiree.

Young people and community organisations sold trinkets, souvenirs and handmade crafts at about 30 stalls, which they were given use of for free.

The fair's organising committee executive chairman, Tang Yau-choi, said the event aimed to cultivate community interest in Chinese culture and support for tourism in what was once seen as an old and gritty neighbourhood.

"We are trying to promote economic development of the local community and a sense of belonging among residents," Tang said, adding that a group of foreign exchange students had been invited to the banquet.

Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, who was at the opening ceremony, said she appreciated community-building efforts as it dovetailed with the government's policy objective of creating a harmonious society.