Streets of Hong Kong--Dispatch #0018: Mid-Autumn Festival 2018 (Enter The Tai Hang Fire Dragon)

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Every year, starting in the late 19th century, the villagers of Tai Hang, a small village hidden behind Causeway Bay,  perform a fire dragon dance intended to deflect bad luck away. 

According to local legend, over a century ago, a few days before the Mid-Autumn Festival, a typhoon and then a plague wreaked havoc on the village. While the villagers were repairing the damage, a python entered the village and ate their livestock. According to some villagers, the python was the son of the Dragon King. A soothsayer decreed the only way to stop the chaos was to stage a fire dance for three days and nights during the upcoming mid-autumn festival.

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The villagers made a huge dragon of straw and covered it with incense sticks, which they then lit. Accompanied by drummers and erupting firecrackers, they danced for three days and three nights – and the plague disappeared.

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The village itself later became a refugee slum and then was has subsumed into modern day Hong Kong, but the tradition continues every year concurrently with the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival. The dance is on China's third national list of intangible cultural heritage.

This year the dance will be performed on September 23, 24 and 25, 2018.

Both the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival and the Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance present fantastic evening photographic opportunities as well as a genuine local cultural experience.

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There is a lantern festival held in Victoria Park around the statue of the Queen on the main sports field and the dragon dance is performed through the winding streets of Tai Hang.

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To photograph the dragon, I recommend you travel light. Do not carry a tripod and be prepared to walk/run along with the dragon to get plenty of action shots. I prefer to use a fast wide angle lense in order to capture as much of the up close action as possible. Set your ISO at a fast speed (ISO 2000+) as the streets will be dark. I will bring my Fuji 21mm for this purpose.

There will be many families walking through Victoria park carrying traditional paper lanterns. If you want to capture some dreamy bokeh filled lantern images bring a faster portrait lense. This year I will bring my Sigma 50-100 f1.8 for this purpose.

I look forward to photographing these fantastic visual events annually and am always happy to share my take on this unique Hong Kong event which is a perfect Hong Kong Night Tour opportunity.

This is a limited event held only on September 23, 24 and 25, 2018. So please plan accordingly.

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See you on the Streets of Hong Kong!

WB7

End of Dispatch

 


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I am an American of Asian descent from NYC who has spent many years living and working throughout Asia, most recently based from a very old Chinese neighborhood called To Kwa Wan in Old Kowloon for 15 years. I am also a retired international lawyer with strong Asian roots and I have reinvented myself as a professional artist, photographer and street savvy Hong Kong premium tour guide.

I specialize in premium quality private walking tours with an emphasis on street culture, local history and, for those so inclined, all levels of photography. My private tours are personalized to match your unique interests. Inasmuch as I am a professional photographer, all of the points of interest covered in my repertoire have a very strong visual appeal coupled with a well informed narrative adding dimension and context to your images.

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Hence, my mission can be encapsulated as follows: To provide all of my clients with an entertaining, deeply informative and street savvy premium travel experience ultimately leading to cherished memories, a portfolio of stunning on-tour photographs, an urge for further investigation and a strong desire to navigate your way back to this wonderfully engaging city.

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