"ICH Mission - I wanna be an ICH Bearer" - "Hakka Unicorn Dance"
Date: 26 June or 3 July 2016 (Sunday)
Time: 2-5 pm
Venue: Sam Tung Uk Museum
Organised by Intangible Cultural Heritage Office
Event Partner: Joint Association of Traditional Hakka Unicorn in Sai Kung and Hang Hau Hong Kong
The "Hakka unicorn dance in Hang Hau, Sai Kung" is an indigenous custom with a history of more than two hundred years. It was inscribed onto the fourth national list of intangible cultural heritage of China in 2014. The qilin, or Chinese unicorn, is regarded by the Hakka people as a symbol of their ethnic group, as it is endowed with literary acumen and good martial art skills. On celebratory occasions such as festivals, the inauguration of an ancestral hall, moving into a new home, weddings, birthday parties, etc., there would invariably be a unicorn dance as a gesture of bestowing blessings and warding off evil. Among all mythical creatures, the unicorn is said to be mild in manners, polite and discreet while it retains its curious nature. It is literate, too - before it enters a building, it would "read" the couplets that flank the doorway. It is vegetarian and therefore does not kill. All in all, the unicorn possesses unique characteristics which are different from the dragon and the lion portrayed in Chinese culture.
This workshop is held in the form of small groups, taught by unicorn dance veterans from the "Joint Association of Traditional Hakka Unicorn in Sai Kung and Hang Hau Hong Kong" - the bearer organisation of this intangible cultural heritage - and the content includes demonstrations, theories and practical exercise. It is a valuable opportunity that allows participants to gain insight into the ritual and cultural contents of this local custom through experiencing the unicorn dance movements as well as its instrumental accompaniment.