Following a tradition that dates back centuries, residents of Hong Kong’s Cheung Chau Island are preparing to make the yearly switch from beef balls and prawn dumplings to vegetarian spring rolls when the historic Cheung Chau Bun Festival returns from 19th to 23rd May 2018.
Thousands of people will descend on Cheung Chau Island for the week-long festivities and, in order to keep the traditions of past alive, festival organisers encourage restaurants and visitors to stop serving and eating meat during the three days.
As a result, many of the island’s restaurants and street food vendors will offer an alternative vegetarian menu instead. For the first time last year, the local McDonalds even switched to a vegetarian menu in honour of the festival.
The festival is celebrated on the tiny island of Cheung Chau where, in the late Qing dynasty, a plague devastated its residents, resulting in the islanders shunning meat as sacrifice to the god, Pak Tai.
Other celebrations include Taoist ceremonies, an unforgettable parade, colourful lion dances, atmospheric drum playing and as night falls, and an exciting Bun Scrambling Competition – where brave competitors scramble up an enormous bamboo tower studded with imitation buns, collecting as many as they can in the hope they’ll be crowned the King or Queen of the competition.
Dawn Page, Director, UK and Northern Europe commented, ‘The Cheung Chau Bun Festival is a fantastic example of why Hong Kong appeals to so many. In a city full of technology, new buildings and modern living, its residents never forget about the city’s heritage and celebrate it to this day. The fact that many restaurants switch to a vegetarian menu just for the week is clear testament to that and the unique culture that we are so proud of and keen to share with the world.’
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