I am a Year2 student in the University of Hong Kong and major in Landscape Studies. Pokfulam village is the site for our studio project this semester so I am so lucky to know more about the village and take part in some of their activities.This year, I have a special experience during the Mid-Autumn Festival. I was not playing with candles or lanterns, but being a volunteer and taking part into the fire dragon dance in Pokfulam Village which is an important event and tradition for the village.
In Hong Kong, most people know the fire dragon dance in Tai Hang. In fact, there is another fire dragon dance carried out in Pokfulam Village with its own unique characters and rich historical meaning.The villagers work together every year to make their own fire dragons according to their tradition. The method of making a fire dragon is a unique skill that only few people possess within the village. This tradition is very important to them, so they put a lot of effort to promote and keep this tradition.
Not only for the villagers, this special experience and tradition is also very amazing for the outsiders, like me. Firstly, outsiders have much greater involvement in this tradition. I can stand close to the dragon but not separated by fence and police; I can help with putting all the incense into the dragon but not only taking photos; I can hold the dragon and rushing down to the sea with other villagers. This tradition supposed to be an inside and closed tradition for only the villagers, but now it is open for everyone who is interested. That incredible and unforgettable experience can only be found in Pokfulam village.
Also, outsiders can experience and know more about the unique culture of the fire dragon dance as well as the village. Throughout the whole process on that day, I understand that when the fire dragon going over every lane within the village, it is actually bringing blessings to everyone there. Different steps possess different meanings and values which might be forgotten by the outsiders, like the simple concept of caring and helping each other. Pokfulam village is definitely a treasure for all Hong Kong People, included both the villagers and the outsiders. And it is worthy to keep it for us, and the next generation.
Wong Lok Yan Olive
During Mid- Autumn festival, a festival which brings family and relatives together and celebrate the love among each other, villagers performs the fire dragon dance in Pokfulam Village. Different from traditional village which villagers share the same family name, in Pokfulam village people came from different places instead of having the same ancestor. In order to give the villagers a sense of belonging, they developed such celebration to bring each other together and this traditional goes on for decades and still have succeeded in help villagers bond closely with each other.
In fact, such celebration also spread the warm feeling out of the village now. Under chinese traditional framework, girls and visitors can’t do the celebration for village including large events like fire dragon dance but pokfulam village just make it possible and they welcome vsitor and girls to join and help in the event. Not only allowing me to light up the dragon and dance with it brings me luck and blessing, more importantly, having the chance to participate gives me a warm feeling and sense of belong to the community. Though such traditional event, I do learn more about the culture of the village and the inflection of ot is amazing strong.
Indeed, the fire dragon dance passes the message of love and unity to all the participants and vistors, it’s a very unique cultural event which keep influrencing people for decades.
Chan Ka Ying May
Fire dragon dance is a traditional activity in pokfulam village and i can see how villagers connect and unite as one in this biggest event in the village. The young villagers come back to help and to meet their old friends growing up together. Through joining this activity, i know villagers have deep relationship and they enjoy the time gathering together very much. They do not mind share food and drinks and joy among themselves or even to helper outside. Seldom can i see such a special scene that many people watching fire dragon dance in the buildings along the road.
Wong Ting Fung Anson
It is a really unforgettable experience to be part of the Fire Dragon Dance team this year. I have seen the Fire Dragon Dance from TV, but have never thought of involving in it. I am very impressed by how this festive tradition pulls the neighborhood in the Southern Hong Kong Island closely together.
I would never forget the scene I saw when we passed through Wai Fu Estate. All Residents living in the 20-storey-high buildings on both sides of the road went out of their flats and leaned on the barriers to watch the Dance. Some even went down to insert incense sticks on the Fire Dragon. The Pokfulam Dragon Dance is not a show for the tourists, but a unique tradition for bringing good luck to the district, and most importantly, a platform which encourages the participation of the community.
Pokfulam Village is the place that nurtures this traditional culture. The craftsmanship and techniques of constructing the Fire Dragon is passed on generation by generation in the village. Nowadays, these unique skills could not be found in any other parts of the world.
In the past decade, the government always focused on how to make Hong Kong more prosperous, in terms of economic and social aspects. Yet, they neglected the fact that a lot of Hong Kong’s unique local cultures are forced to disappear during the rapid economic and social development. Local cultures like the Fire Dragon Dance are important assets of Hong Kong as well, as they tell the world stories about cultural and historic side of Hong Kong.
Living in Hong Kong for twenty years, I have never been having such a meaningful Mid- Autumn festival. Usually, most people celebrate the Festival by eating moon cakes and watching lanterns in public parks. Yet, this Festival to Pokfulam village is something tremendous and important. Some of them even put aside their job for a week so to prepare for the festival.
The bamboo – made dragon is an amazing art. It can only be built by hand and there is only one villager left who knows how to build the dragon from head to toe. When the dragon is settled on the street that night, incense is added by everyone onto its body as “fire”. When the dragon is than held up and swung, it becomes alive. The dragon passes through different places and each movement that it waves signify a different meaning and story. During the long parade, people was shouting excitedly and chasing the dragon eagerly. Not only villagers and locals has come but also foreigners as well.
Being a volunteer for the fire dragon dance this year, I deeply experience the atmosphere of a Mid-Autumn Festival, to celebrate the togetherness, with familes, friends and people all over the world.
Participating in the Fire Dragon Dance is one of the fascinating things I have done in my life. It is an rare opportunity in having everyone in our class to engage in this meaningful Chinese activity. We did not only gaining experience in dancing the Fire Dragon, but also knowing more about the traditional custom in Pokfulam Village and the close bonding between the villagers.
I enjoyed participating in this event very much and I hope that more people can join it and have an unique mid-autumn festival.
Lui Ka Yi Kaylee
Fire dragon dance is an important event in Pokfulam village. Every year, it attracts many visitors, regardless of their nationality, to have a look at it. Over 100 years, villagers hope to bring luck and bless to people through this event. It contains great historical and cultural values. However, with the passing of time, the village faces the threat of demolition. I think it is important to preserve the village and its activities because the lifestyles in this place are very unique. It could be a place for the younger generation to see the history of a place where they live.
Fire Dragon Dance It was my first time to join in such a traditional and excited group activity. When I first saw the fire dragon with burning incense, actually I was very worried that the incense might fly out and scald someone. However, the danger of the incense didn’t influence people’s excitement toward such a tradition.
As the dance went out, I forget about the dangerous part as well, even though when I got home after the event, I found out that a little hole was burnt through my T-shirt and left a little scar on my shoulder, I hardly notice but enjoy the excitement during the time. When we held the dragon and pass through the residential buildings, people in their home came out to watch us and countless cameras flashed towards us. This scene made me felt like I am really a part of the dragon.
The Fire Dragon Dance is a Chinese Traditional event. There are only two places in Hong Kong can watch this annual event. Despite fascinated by the long dragon and the Chinese candles all over the dragon, the event is actually meaningful to the villagers that hoping good fortune in the whole year. It is really a rare opportunity to engage in the community as you can’t actually take part to hold the event in other villagers. The Fire Dragon Dance can gather people to know more about Chinese Tradition and to demonstrate the cultural identity of the village. The dance as a kind of Chinese Tradition involves many practices like the method of holding the dragon supports and the way that villagers dance the dragon are reflection of Chinese history from generation to generation.
The dragon is also a kind of traditional craft which is now demolishing in the village and only Mr. Ng has the knowledge to craft the whole dragon. Therefore, the event not only reflect the identity of the village, it also past the tradition and history from time to time, it is the continuity of culture and history which worth our respect and preservation.