Award-winning actor Hugh Jackman visited Hong Kong September 28th during Mid-Autumn Festival to promote his latest film, “Pan”. During his stay, Jackman visited one of the oldest neighbourhoods, Tai Hang, and experienced the most authentic cultural heritage with around 100 years of history – Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance. Being the first international star participating in this festivity, Jackman was honoured with a leading role of the parade by holding the Fire Dragon pearl.
About Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance
In the 19th century, the people of Tai Hang began performing a dragon dance to stop a run of bad luck afflicting their village. More than a century later, their village has been developed into a part of the cosmopolitan. But the dragon keeps on dancing. It has even danced its way onto China’s third national list of intangible cultural heritage.
All this started a few days before the Mid-Autumn Festival, sometime around 100 years ago. First a typhoon slammed into the fishing and farming community of Tai Hang. This was followed by a plague, and then when a python ate the villagers’ livestock, they said enough was enough. A soothsayer decreed the only way to stop the chaos was to stage a fire dance for three days and nights during the upcoming festival. The villagers made a huge dragon from straw and covered it with incense sticks, which they then lit. Accompanied by drummers and erupting firecrackers, they did what they were told and danced for three days and three nights – and the plague disappeared.
About Mid Autumn Festival
As the round shape symbolizes unity in the Chinese culture, the full moon stirs these ancient sentiments, which are embodied in the way the Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated since the early Tang dynasty (618 – 907). In the past, on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month every year, families would get together to make offerings of osmanthus-flavoured wine, spherical fruits such as pears, grapes, pomegranates and of course mooncakes to the heavens, to express gratitude for a bumper harvest as well as enjoy a reunion with relatives who live far away. To many, this is considered to be one of the most important festivals of the year. Highly-urbanised Hong Kong still celebrates this holiday, and does so in style and with its characteristic penchant for fusing tradition with inn