Amazing Kids! Magazine

Cheung Chau Bun Festival

By Alex Lam, age 15, Hong Kong


To start this year’s Cheung Chau Bun Festival,
Dancers perched on stilts and costumed in the head and body of a lion
Prance and weave around a crowd of 50,000.
The loud crashing of symbols and heavy drum beats
Reverberate through the verdant hills of the island
While children in crimson and gold changpaos sway high above the crowds
Balanced on tiny seats atop steel rods.

The rhythmic pulse of the drums reaches a crescendo
As red-clothed dancers stamp wildly,
Waving their arms in a blur of tangerine, azure blue, jade, and cardinal red,
Their spirited movements driving away the demons that lurk along the pathways.
The pungent odor of sandalwood fills the air,
Swirls of smoke from long, red incense sticks to appease the gods:
The God Pak Tai and the Goddess Tin Hau for smooth sailing and plentiful fish,
Gods Kuan Yin and Hung Hsing for mercy.

The procession reaches its destination:
Three 60-foot steel pillars embellished in white plastic buns
With the Chinese characters 平安, safe and peaceful,
Written on the buns in magenta pink.
Murmurs turn into cheers as the drumbeat gets louder.
Three chosen climbers race up to grab the highest buns atop the giant towers,
Hawkers wheel out 20,000 buns freshly steamed in their bamboo baskets,
And the smells of lotus seed, red bean, and black sesame paste fill the air.

The sun covers the sky in a blanket of salmon pink
As people devour roasted pork
While listening to the dulcet tones of Chinese opera singers.
As the midnight moon shines above,
Flames of red illuminate the island,
The burning effigy of the King of the Ghosts
To bring an end to this year’s Cheung Chau Bun Festival.