Thursday, May 6, 2010

Tin Hau Birthday Celebrations at Joss House Bay

It may say "ordinary ferry" (i.e., not high speed)
on the ticket but it's for a ferry service
that's only runs on two days each year

On board the ferry, passengers toss paper offerings
into the sea for The Goddess of the Sea

View from the temporary ferry pier extension of
Joss House Bay's festively decorated Tin Hau Temple

Lions dance while flag bearers and others
surround them in front of the temple

A few months back, a post on Gweipo's blog inspired me to write my own Before you leave (Hong Kong)... list -- with number ten on it being: "Attend a local community festival (e.g., Tai Hang's Fire Dragon Dance or Shau Kei Wan's Tam Kung Birthday Parade)". And today, two years after I wrote about it for a bc magazine feature article, I finally made it out to Joss House Bay, the location of the oldest temple in Hong Kong erected in her honor, on Tin Hau's Birthday!

Since Tin Hau's Birthday regularly falls and is celebrated on a week day, I had to take the day off from work in order to do this. And maybe it was due to this festive day falling on a week day and also not being a designated public holiday (*and* the heavens threatening to open and pour down with rain for much of the day) that Joss House Bay was far less packed with people than I expected.

Still, the lack of a huge crowd hardly meant that there were a lack of interesting sights to behold at the temple and its surroundings -- and even the ferry ride there and back. Also, I have to say that there's something really wonderful about how local and plain untouristy many of Hong Kong's traditional festivals continue to feel and be -- even with the Hong Kong Tourism Board's efforts to provide information about them and incorporate them into its Festive Hong Kong 2010 campaign! :)


Edward Irons said...

I'm going tomorrow-evidently this year it does fall on a public holiday and they arranged two days of ferries.

YTSL said...

Hi ManOfAsia --

Hope you have better weather when you go than I did last year. Although it didn't actually rain when I was at Joss House Bay, it constantly threatened. Some sunshine would be nice though a breeze is always cool too. :)