Inconspicuously tucked between Hong Kong’s busier districts of Causeway Bay and Tin Hau, lies the small district and one of my favorite places to hang out: Tai Hang. As one of Hong Kong’s most recent neighborhoods to undergo gentrification, Tai Hang is typically a quiet (for such densely packed city such as Hong Kong) neighborhood with great restaurants and cafes to draw the young and hip crowd.
Come every Mid-Autumn Festival, crowds line the streets for the exciting annual Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance and subsequent celebration.
According to local legend, a local fisherman killed a serpent during a typhoon over a century ago that would lead to a deadly cholera outbreak on the former fishing village. A soothsayer decreed the only way to end the plague and restore peace was to appease the gods by performing a fire dragon dance. Apparently this tactic worked and Tai Hang has continued the tradition of the Fire Dragon Dance every year since.
As part of tradition, the local girls dress up in classic costumes and carry bright lotus flower lanterns to light the way for the Fire Dragon.
The Fire Dragon dances its way to the beat of Chinese drums along the streets and small lanes of Tai Hang, much to the delight of onlookers. At a formidable 220 feet length, the Fire Dragon requires a large number of beefy men to carry the significant weight of each of the dragon’s 32 sections. I imagine the lighted incense and smoke doesn’t make this any easier.
It’s near pandemonium, but absolute fun and highly recommended! You won’t see anything else like it.
The Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance goes on for three consecutive nights leading up to the Mid-Autumn Festival. Exact dates are determined by the lunar calendar and can be found online.
You can catch the dancing fire dragon within walking distance from the Tin Hau MTR, exit A1. Just follow the crowds and smell of incense until you reach Tai Hang. Trust me, you can’t miss it!