Tai Hang dragon dance marks colourful start to Chinese holiday

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 30 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 30 September, 2012, 11:53am

Thousands of people thronged in Tai Hang yesterday to watch the area's heritage-listed dragon dance, kicking off the Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day celebrations.

Paraded along the narrow streets by 300 dancing Tai Hang residents, the 61-metre fire dragon swung its head and tail to the cheering of crowds.

Though the full moon that is celebrated by the festival will appear tonight, Hong Kong families celebrated early yesterday as office workers started a four-day break.

Lee Wai-fong, who saw the dance for the first time, waited for three hours with her family to secure a good spot.

"I think it's quite special. There is incense all over the dragon, and it's cultural heritage," she said.

The dragon dance, which made it to the National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in China last year, originated in 1880 as an act to ward off a plague that broke out in Tai Hang village.

The Tai Hang Residents' Welfare Association can host the dance each year until 2014 with HK$935,000 in funds donated by the Jockey Club Charities Trust.

Other people visited Victoria Park, also in Causeway Bay, to admire a six-storey-high "Golden Moon" lantern. LED lights illuminated the fabric, creating different shades and effects.

Meanwhile, millions of mainlanders were getting on trains and planes for the longest "golden week" to date.

The holiday period that follows National Day tomorrow will be one day longer than usual because it coincides with the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Workers will have eight days off from today.

During that period, 740 million are expected to travel, the most on record, according to Xinhua.

By 10pm yesterday, the Immigration Department had recorded 316,766 people entering Hong Kong, while 482,466 people left the city.