May 02, 2018

The Tin Hau Festival: Hong Kong’s grand celebration of the Sea Goddess

 

The Tin Hau Festival is one of the most historically and culturally significant festivals in the city of Hong Kong. 

 

But what is the Tin Hau Festival? 

 

Tin Hau is the Goddess Of The Sea (literal translation: Heavenly Empress), and is widely considered the "patron saint" of the city. It's not difficult to understand why Tin Hau is so significant. Over the course of its history, Hong Kong and people of the surrounding islands relied on the ocean for their livelihood. This is why Tin Hau is such a major festival. It takes place in over 60 Tin Hau temples across the islands. 

 

Tin Hau festival is celebrated on the 23rd day of the 3rd month of the Lunar calendar (April or May in the Western Calendar). This year, it falls on May 8.

 

The surrounding villages don't hold back when it comes to this great festival. That’s why the most exciting and active celebrations honouring the sea deity occur in these island villages. 

 

Parades across the city include kung fu troops, marching bands and dragon dances. 'Fa Paus', tall, well-structured towers with paper floral tributes, form a very important part of the festivities.

 

Unsurprisingly, firecrackers are heard frequently, both in the city and in the island villages. In coastal areas, boat processions are seen. Mouth-watering feasts complete the festivities! 

 

 

Yuen Long

Yuen Long has perhaps the biggest Tin Hau parade celebration in the entire city. The parade is massive and lasts approximately three hours. The parade begins from Fung Cheung Road and ends at Tai Shu Ha Tin Hau Temple. It's something that must be witnessed by the human eye!

 

With hundreds of participants, the grand celebration features some of the most colourful, beautiful cultural performances that you’ll ever see.

 

Inside the stadium itself, the first group of performers arrive at 11am. You can witness Lion and Dragon Dancers and floats as they go on until the Tai Shu Ha Tin Temple, where they pay respects to Tin Hau. This is the conclusion of the parade.

 

Where does it start?

Fuen Cheung Road

What time does it start?

10am, May 8, 2018

Where does the parade go?

It goes through Kau Yuk Road and arrives at Yuen Long Stadium. The route isn't hard to follow as the barricades are directed accordingly.

How much does it cost?

It's absolutely free of cost to attend! 

 

The Joss House Bay: Sai Kung Islands

The beautiful island of Sai Kung plays host to an incredible celebration of Tin Hau festival. If you want to get away from the jam-packed city streets, here's your alternative. The town of Sai Kung pulls no punches when it comes to celebrating the Tin Hau festival. Expect to see beautiful celebrations take place in honour of the Sea Goddess!

 

Where is the celebration?

Joss House Bay and all around the Tin Hau Temple

 

 

How do I reach?

Take a ferry from the North Point Ferry pier in Hong Kong. It's a 40-minute ride costing HK$60 for the regular ferry and HK$70 for the fast ferry. Rates for children and seniors differ. The good thing is that First Ferry provides additional trips during the festival. It was announced that First Ferry will be arranging over 50 trips between North Point and Joss House Bay!

What else can I see here?

When at Sai Kung, don't forget to visit the seafood market and try out the restaurants, which offer some of the best seafood on all the islands.

 

Not a fan of crowds or grand celebrations? Visit the Tin Hau Temples on Hong Kong island!

It's understandable if you don't want to be around big crowds, but want to see the culture and tradition of the festival anyway. Lucky for you, Hong Kong has over 60 Tin Hau temples! A visit to any Tin Hau temple in the city will give you an insight into a more low-key yet equally beautiful celebration.

 

Another beautiful thing about the Tin Hau temples is that many of them are located inside narrow alleyways in the city.

 

A famous temple to visit is the Yau Ma Tei Tin Hau Temple. Others include Shau Kei Wan Tin Hau Temple,Yuk Wong Temple, Hoi Shum Temple and Lok Kang Po Tin Hau Temple.

 

 

The Tin Hau festival is an essential experience for all Hong Kongers. It’s part of the very soul of the city and one of its biggest attractions. With the festival soon approaching, make sure that you take advantage of this great festival and check out all that it has to offer !

 

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