What is the Highlight of the Cheung Chau Bun Festival?

June 15, 2023

The 2023 Cheung Chau Bun Festival – which has returned after a three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic – is one of Hong Kong’s most colourful and traditional festivals. From dazzling parades to a bun scrambling competition, tens of thousands of local and international tourists flock to the island’s annual festivities to witness the unique and fun ritual.

Historically, the Bun Festival started as a religious ritual for fishing communities to pray for protection from pirates and evil spirits. The villagers would parade along the streets holding statues of Taoist deities. These deities are believed to drive away the evil spirits and bring in prosperity and good luck for the community.

In modern times, this tradition has mainly become a showcase of local culture and a way to entertain the community. The highlight of the festival is the bun snatching competition, where villagers and visitors climb 14-meter-high towers covered in steamed buns to snatch as many as they can within three minutes. The more buns they snatch, the more fortune they are supposed to receive.

Other highlights of the festival include a float parade, opera performances and lion dances. As for food, the entire island goes vegetarian during the festival’s three days – even all the famous seafood restaurants take meat off their menu. Getting to and from Cheung Chau during the festival is also easy, with extra sailings of the Sun Ferry services operating to accommodate the huge crowds.


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