With its roots firmly in Hong Kong’s fishing and maritime days, the Tin Hau Festival pays homage to Tin Hau, the Goddess of the Sea, and revered patron saint of fishermen.
There are dozens of Tin Hau Temples across Hong Kong of varying size, each putting on lively celebrations and festivities, usually including music, lion dances, and martial arts displays. Another highlight are the massive colorful floral floats called ‘fa pau’ which are carried through the streets.
The largest Tin Hau Festival takes place in Yuen Long, in the village of Shap Pat Heung. An elaborate three-hour parade is held starting from Fung Cheung Road and finishing at the Yuen Long Stadium. The parade starts at 10 am, and features 30 beautifully decorated fau pau, as well as dragon and lion dances and fantastic cultural performances. In the afternoon, the fa pau are raffled off at the stadium, with the winners taking home the auspicious wreaths.
Another notable Tin Hau Festival takes place in the eastern seaside town of Sai Kung, attracting thousands of attendees. The Tin Hau Temple at Joss House Bay is a declared monument, as Hong Kong’s oldest and biggest temple dedicated to Tin Hau. Getting to Joss House Bay can be an adventure of itself, as this is the only day of the year that the First Ferry operates a service from North Point Pier to Joss House Bay. So this is a great chance not only to see the festival, but take a truly scenic ride to Sai Kung.
Cheung Chau, Peng Chau, Lamma and Tsing Yi islands are also hot spots for the festival, as these islands have a number of Tin Hau Temples, and strong fishing roots.