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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Living Culture – Wan Chai: Experience the Cultural Heritage
Joanna James Joanna James
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Living Culture – Wan Chai: Experience the Cultural Heritage

If you select Wan Chai as base for exploring Honk Kong look forward to experiencing culture and art like never before. Ancient rituals and festivals promise to stun and impress; read on for the best.


The Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance

This tradition started in the 19th century over 100 years ago. The villagers of Tai Hang who saw a string of bad luck were advised by a soothsayer to perform a dragon dance to ward off any more misfortune befalling the village. As such they made a huge dragon of straw and decorated it with hundreds of incense sticks. Today the village is part of cosmopolitan Hong Kong and a thriving success. The dragon dance however still goes on. A very impressive dragon makes its way across the back streets in an imposing dance of fire, smoke and fierce celebrations. The dragon dance takes place for 3 nights from the 3rd to 5th of October. It starts at around 8.15 pm around Tai Hang in Causeway Bay. Wu Sha Street is the best lookout point.


Cheung Chau Bun Festival

The Cheung Chau Festival is celebrated from the 5th to the 9th day of the fourth lunar month. Locals are busy at this time creating pretty papier mache effigies of beloved gods, baking buns, building bamboo towers and sewing beautiful costumes. The festival originated during the Qing Dynasty when villagers built an alter to Pak Tai asking the god to drive out the evil spirits that plagued the island. The festival is celebrated from the 30th of April to 4th of May and consists of the very colourful Piu Sik – floating colours – Parade. You can get to Cheung Chau via ferry from pier 5.


The Hungry Ghost Festival

This festival is linked to the ancient Chinese practise of ancestor worship; it takes place during the 15th day of the 11th lunar month, December on a regular calendar. The idea is to appease the appetite of passing ghosts while 'feeding' ancestors. This is one of the city's finest examples of living culture one that can be experienced while staying at a Wanchai hotel. You will witness people setting up roadside fires in which faux money is burnt while other offerings too are made to ancestors and ghosts to use in the afterlife. You will notice that even food is left out as a means of appeasing the appetites of passing ghosts.


The Chinese Opera

Chinese opera takes precedence in the living culture arena and remains unmatched when it comes to evoking the mystery and allure of ancient China. Enjoy the utterly stunning costumes, a kaleidoscope of colours as well as the rich symbolism, falsetto and dramatic gestures that only the most talented of artists can emulate. Not too far from the Dorsett Wanchai Hong Kong are venues for loosing yourself in the absorbing world of Chinese Opera. Regular performances are held at Ko Shan Theatre and New Wing, Sunbeam Theatre and Yau Ma Tei Theatre.

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