The annual Cheung Chau Bun Festival was held earlier this month between May 3rd and 7th.
It involves bun towers, lion dances, parades, and the bun scrambling contest.
It is the most famous of the Da Jiu festivals, with Jiu (醮) being a Taoist sacrificial ceremony. They are usually held in rural communities at a set time.
The celebrations draw tens of thousands of local and overseas tourists every year.
It is staged to mark the Eighth day of the Fourth Moon, coinciding with Buddha’s Birthday.
In the 18th century, it is said that Cheung Chau was devastated by a plague and infiltrated by pirates.
Fishermen bought an image of the God Pak Tai to the island, parading it around village lanes to drive away evil spirits.
Throughout a weeklong thanksgiving, the island goes vegetarian – including McDonald’s, which serves mushroom burgers instead of meat.
Children dress as modern and legendary heroes and are suspended above the crowds on the tips of swords and fans.
Many of the local schools, martial art organisations and businesses participate in the parades.
The children are secured within steel frames though appear to float in the air. Parents consider it a great honour for their children to be part of the parade.
At Pak Tai Temple, giant 60-ft towers covered with buns are erected. Young men race up the towers to ‘snatch’ buns, though between 1979 and 2005, the race was suspended following a collapse which injured more than 100 people.
Today’s towers are made from plastic.
Video via Coconuts HK: