We may have all been celebrating Easter over the Bank Holiday weekend, but in Hong Kong there is a very different celebration on the horizon.
The birthday of Tin Hau, the Goddess of the Sea, is taking place this week, and preparations are being made across Hong Kong.
Tin Hau is believed to have been able to forecast the weather, protecting fishermen and their ships from disaster. Tin Hau’s birthday is celebrated on the 23rd day of the third lunar month of the year, with fishermen throughout Hong Kong marking the occasion.
As with most celebrations in the Far East, Tin Hau’s birthday is a vibrant celebration full of colour and beautiful decoration.
This year, the event falls on 13 April. One of the main aspects of the festivities is in Joss House Bay, in Sai Kung. This port will see beautifully decorated boats from a procession to celebrate the occasion.
Joss House Bay is home to the oldest Tin Hau temple in Hong Kong, which was built in 1266. More than 40 boats will make up the vibrant procession that will sail through Victoria Harbour on its way to the Temple.
While Tin Hau’s birthday is especially important to fishermen and seafarers, the celebrations are not consigned purely to the sea.
Another of the main highlights is the parade in Shap Pat Heung, in Yuen Long. Celebrating its 50th year this year, the procession is another example of the colourful celebrations unique to this part of the world.
Taking place over three hours on 13 April, the parade includes huge floral wreaths (often topping eight metres in height) and traditional dances.
The birthday of Tin Hau is a truly unique celebration, taking place over land and sea. It comes around just once a year, so grab the opportunity while you still can!