Cheung Chou Bun Festival – China
The Cheung Chau Bun Festival is one of the most entertaining and unique festivals Hong Kong has to offer. Taking place on Cheung Chau Island, which is a short ferry ride from the city, the event embodies Chinese history and tradition for tens of thousands of locals and tourists alike.
It began as a fun and exciting ritual for fishing communities to pray for safety from pirates. Although the religious origins have mainly minimized over time, the festival remains a showcase of traditional Chinese culture.
The festival lasts for five days, with three days reserved for an island-wide adherence of vegetarianism. Even most of the island’s famous seafood restaurants adhere to this tradition with McDonald’s temporarily removing meat off the menu for mushroom made veggie burgers.
The 3 bamboo “Bun Towers” are the centerpiece of the festival and can be found at Pak Tai Temple, each standing 60-feet tall and covered with buns. A race (known as “Bun-snatching”) up these 3 towers takes place among 3 designated climbers, with the legend stating good fortune is bestowed among the highest climber’s family.
The festival also hosts a beautiful parade with marching bands, the colorful lions, martial arts demonstrations, floats and more.