I read a post by another expat blogger recently about how expats can be on the outside of local festivals and celebrations because of different religious beliefs and whilst I certainly had that experience of looking in and yet not being of that faith so not practising all the traditions, the Tuen Ng Festival (or Dragon Boat Festival as it is more commonly known especially amongst Hong Kong’s expat community) is an outstanding example where expats and local communities come together.
A brief history of the festival can be found here http://www.hkfastfacts.com/Chinese%20Festivals/dragon_boat_festival.htm#.U4x6YxZvV7Y
We got involved the very first year we arrived in Hong Kong via my husband’s work and hubby then raced and became a trainer for six or seven years. His team trained and raced in Stanley and our family were lucky enough to watch from the company’s junk.
Reading posts on Facebook today and looking at the many photos my friends have posted as either competitors or spectators I am taken back to the sounds of the drums beating, the splash of the paddles, the cheers of the crowds and the amazing array of colours that the teams wear.
Here are some of our photos from years gone by.
Hong Kong also hosts the International Dragon Boat Festival, the largest one in the world. http://www.discoverhongkong.com/eng/see-do/events-festivals/highlight-events/dragon-boat-carnival.jsp – sadly my photos from 2010 when we stayed in HK for the summer are lost somewhere in “the cloud”!!!
Another blog I follow, Gwolo, old Hong Kong has this post marking the festival in the 1920s http://gwulo.com/node/20042 Fascinating to see racers in long sleeves and hats!
Happy Dragon Boat Festival everyone!