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Blog Description:

The Expat Photographer is an expatriate's photo blog. Covering travel and photography from America to Beijing, Hong Kong and beyond. General topics, articles and lots of photo galleries.
Blog Added: December 12, 2016 12:35:10 AM
Audience Rating: General Audience
Blog Platform: WordPress
Blog Country: United-States   United-States
Blog Stats
Total Visits: 330
Blog Rating: 3.50
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Seven Saturday Sights In Shenzhen

Seven Saturday Sights in Shenzhen Read More






Hong Kong’s Wong Tai Sin Temple

Golden Week festival at Wong Tai Sin Temple in Hong Kong. Read More

The Wong Tai Sin Temple is located in the north of the Kowloon area of Hong Kong.  Wong Tai Sin, the Great Immortal Wong as he’s called, traditionally hails from further inland.

Wong Tai Sin Temple 5
It’s good to be Wong

 

In the city of Foshan, in the same province as me of Guangdong, a particular adherent brought the worship of Wong Tai Sin to HK and set up a shrine to the Great Immortal Wong about 100 years ago.  As the story goes, the man’s shrine was nowhere near as immortal as the Great Wong, apparently, because it burnt down.  Wong Tai Sin took that opportunity to upgrade, instructing his dedicated followers to walk 3,000 steps from the coast and build a new, and naturally much grander shrine, on the spot.

 

Wong Tai Sin Temple 14
Just inside the main entrance.

I think the Great Immortal Wong would be pretty happy with his new lay-out because the Wong Tai Sin Temple is a large, gorgeous temple that gets lots of visitors.  It may be good to be king, but it seems being a great immortal has its benefits also.

Wong Tai Sin Temple 11
The Great Immortal Wong can have a bit of a temper it seems.

 

While visiting, during the Mid-Autumn Festival, I was lucky enough to see a bit of a parade and festival.  It was quite the colorful and lively event.

 

 

 




Quick Stop at a Flower Market

Hong Kong Flower Market by Yuen Po Street Read More

Looking for Yuen Po Street, to find some birds, I stumbled upon a semi-hidden flower market.  In the Mong Kok section of town, it’s a small flower market sort of hiding in a corner which apparently specializes in orchids.  Quite the burst of color, especially purples and violets, that appears almost out of nowhere as you round the bend.  It’s a pleasant break from all the concrete and steel.

 

 




National Geographic: Hong Kong’s Dazzling Fire Dragon Dance

Every year this neighborhood comes alive with thumping drums, swirling incense, and a 67-foot-long dancing dragon. By Kate Springer Hong Kong’s tiny Tai Hang district is usually one of the city’s quietest quarters. But every year during Mid-Autumn Festival—a mythological holiday celebrating the moon and harvest—the neighborhood comes alive with thumping drums, swirling incense, and a… Read...

Every year this neighborhood comes alive with thumping drums, swirling incense, and a 67-foot-long dancing dragon.

Hong Kong’s tiny Tai Hang district is usually one of the city’s quietest quarters. But every year during Mid-Autumn Festival—a mythological holiday celebrating the moon and harvest—the neighborhood comes alive with thumping drums, swirling incense, and a 67-foot-long dancing dragon.

Inscribed to China’s national list of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2011, the Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance began in 1880, back when the now-inland neighborhood (due to land reclamation) was still a fishing village on the coast. According to legend, a plague besieged the Hakka community and a soothsayer suggested the villagers perform a dragon dance with firecrackers and incense to dispel the contagion. To this day, the dragon dance continues to be a highlight of Mid-Autumn Festival.

The 2017 parade takes place from October 3-6, (the eighth Lunar month on the Chinese calendar). Though it’s traditionally a three-day affair, the festival will be extended to four days to mark Hong Kong’s 20th anniversary as a Special Administrative Region of China.

Dragon dance commander-in-chief Chan Tak-fai, who has been officiating the event for the past 20 years, first got involved as a child. “I grew up watching all the elder makers—there were three on Sun Chun Street where I lived—create the fire dragon every year. I was able to learn and later teach young Tai Hangers,” says Tak-fai, now 70. “Back then, we always gathered in the street as there was no air-conditioning and it was cooler [outside]. That created a great sense of community.”

To prepare for the annual festival, the residents craft a new dragon each year. During a two-day process, they weave together hemp rope, pearl straw, and bamboo to form the body, then lace the spine with thousands of incense sticks. Even with poles attached to the underbelly, it’s not easy to handle the 220-pound dragon. The dance requires 300 Tai Hang residents—both current and former—to carry the creature’s 32 sections.

Tak-fai leads two grand rehearsals—each about two to three hours—to ensure newcomers know the traditional moves and techniques. There’s a team dedicated to each part: the body (which is lighter and easier to handle), the tail (requiring speed and agility), and the head (strength and endurance). Built on a rattan frame with metal sheets for a tongue, the massive head is the heaviest part of the dragon, at 105 pounds.

Responsible for carrying the head, Angus Wong Ho-kit has been involved in the dance for the past 20 years. “Many of my friends who first joined it with me stopped going, but not me,” says Wong, now 32. “I’m getting more and more involved—I’ve met an elder dragon maker who encourages me to learn the craft. Now I’m involved in various components of the tradition and not just the performances.”

Before the creature soars through the streets, Chan performs several Hakka rituals at the 150-year-old Lin Fa Temple in Tai Hang, such as hanging red cloths in homage to the dragon. Around 8 p.m., the dance begins when the elders light the incense in the animal’s eyes. With its head ablaze, the dragon chases two “pearls”—essentially incense bouquets carried by young dancers. A blur of complicated choreography, these dandelion-like orbs of light lead the procession on its path along Wun Sha, King, and Sun Chun Streets. For the next two hours, thousands of spectators cheer on the powerful beast as it dips and twists through the neighborhood.

“It is considered to be good luck and good health to pass under the dancing dragon,” Wong says. “[When I was young] I remember my mom would always hold my sister’s and my hands to dive under the dragon together every year.”

 





Wreckage of WWII-Era Warship U.S.S. Indianapolis Found After 72 Years   National Geographic covering the story of the discovery of the long lost U.S.S. Indianapolis. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/08/uss-indianapolis-wreckage-found/

Wreckage of WWII-Era Warship U.S.S. Indianapolis Found After 72 Years

 

National Geographic covering the story of the discovery of the long lost U.S.S. Indianapolis.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/08/uss-indianapolis-wreckage-found/




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