Golden dragon dance to promote intangible cultural heritage
Two hundred villagers from Ma Tin Tsuen in Yuen Long will perform a dragon dance at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum on Sunday (October 18) at 3pm to promote the intangible cultural heritage of Hong Kong. The dragon will be put on display at the lobby of the museum from next Monday (October 19) until mid April 2010.
For generations, the villagers of Shap Pat Heung in Yuen Long have been ardent worshippers of Tin Hau, to whom a temple is dedicated by the side of a big banyan tree. To celebrate Tin Hau's birthday on the 23rd day of the third month in the Chinese calendar, "fa pao" associations from different villages in the area carry three towers of "fa pao" to the temple in a parade enlivened by dragon, lion and unicorn dances as well as a procession of floats. Embellished with decorative figurines and ornaments, the three "fa pao" towers each carry a blessing - Peace All Year, Everything Goes Well, and Double Blessings of Offspring and Wealth - with this last one considered to be the most auspicious and thus the most popular among the villagers.
Since 1957, Ma Tin Tsuen has drawn the Double Blessings of Offspring and Wealth "fa pao" on more than a few occasions. The joy and happiness from the exhilarating parade continue at a lavish banquet attended by hundreds of villagers in the evening. In gratitude to the goddess, a golden dragon about 70 metres long is offered by the village at the Tin Hau Festival the following year. Made up of more than 30 segments, the dragon performs an elaborate dance that includes such spectacular moves as "Golden Dragon on a Stroll", "Twining Dragon Pays Respect", "Chasing after a Pearl", "Eight Steps of the Dragon", all to the beat of pulsating drums and clashing gongs and in a sea of waving flags.
Last year, the Double Blessings of Offspring and Wealth fell again to Ma Tin Tsuen by drawing, prompting the making of a new golden dragon of a larger scale. According to the custom, the old dragon will have to be burnt before replacing with a new one so that it can fly back to the heavenly court. At the invitation of the Heritage Museum, the villagers of Ma Tin Tsuen have decided to have the old golden dragon, made in 2002, put on display at the museum before it is burnt, and a dragon dance will be performed at the museum on Sunday.
The golden dragon made in 2002 was designed by Ma Tin Tsuen. About 70 metres in length, the dragon is assembled from 36 cylindrical sections. Its body is woven with bamboo strips and dressed in silk with the head and tail made of paper and silk. Led by a dragon ball, the dragon dance will engage about 200 villagers following the drum beats to wave the sections on which the tiny dazzling scales will fly with the wind.
Located at 1 Man Lam Road, Sha Tin, the Heritage Museum opens from 10am to 6pm from Monday to Saturday, and from 10am to 7pm on Sundays and public holidays. It is closed on Tuesdays (except public holidays). The dragon exhibition is free.
Paid car parking is available at the Heritage Museum. Those who prefer to use public transport may take the MTR Ma On Shan Line and get off at the Che Kung Temple Station, which is within three minutes' walk of the museum.
For enquiries, call 2180 8188. For details of the exhibition, visit the Heritage Museum's website at http://hk.heritage.museum/ .
Ends/Tuesday, October 13, 2009
The Ma Tin Tsuen has drawn the Double Blessings of Offspring and Wealth "fa pao" on more than a few occasions. Last year, the Double Blessings of Offspring and Wealth fell again to Ma Tin Tsuen by drawing, prompting the making of a new golden dragon for offering at the Tin Hau Festival this year.