The more buns you collect, the better it gets!
Festivals are a dime a dozen, but have you come across one where you ward off evil spirits and collect buns? The Cheung Chau Bun Festival offers just that!
The festival is said to have its origins from an old legend of evil spirits. It is said that the beautiful Cheung Chau Island suffered a large epidemic causing thousands of the island’s residents to lose their lives. The remaining locals called Pak Tai, a holy deity, for help and drove away all evil spirits from the island. The festival is said to be dedicated to Pak Tai and celebrated annually on Buddha’s birthday.
The celebration is held just outside the island’s Pak Tai Temple and everywhere you look, you will find lucky buns. Three pillars covered in these buns are constructed and at the end of the festival, these baked goods are distributed among the attendees as they are considered to be lucky and have healthy properties even after being hardened over the period of those festival days!
The week-long activities include the incredible Bun Festival Parade! People dress children in various colourful outfits to resemble Chinese mythological deities. The children are held up on a higher stand for the length of the parade, as legend stated that the villagers dressed up as deities to ward off any remaining evil spirit lurking around the island. Floats, posts and magicians accompany them in the parade.
The most talked about tradition at the festival is the Bun Grabbing Competition that takes place on the last day of the celebrations. A 60+ foot bamboo pillar covered in lucky buns is where individuals have to climb up to the top while trying to collects as many of those lucky buns in order to win! Safety was an issue in the past, but the organisers have made sure that the participants are secure before they make their upward climb.
Would you ever climb a tower of buns for some luck? We just might!