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"Folk Festivals in Those Days ..." exhibition showcases Hong Kong's intangible cultural heritage (with photos)
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     How was the history of the oldest Tin Hau temple in Hong Kong revealed? When did "ping on buns" of the Cheung Chau Jiao Festival first come into existence? How were the event venues of the Yu Lan Ghost Festival of the Hong Kong Chiu Chow community set up? Answers can be found in this year's annual exhibition of the Public Records Office titled "Folk Festivals in Those Days ...".
 
     The Cheung Chau Jiao Festival, the Yu Lan Ghost Festival of the Hong Kong Chiu Chow community and the Tin Hau Festival in Hong Kong are part of Hong Kong's intangible cultural heritage. These festivals have been carrying their rituals and traditions through generations, evolving over time and people, to become how they are so accustomed today.
 
     The exhibition will showcase a mix of archival holdings and exhibits on loan from the community, which is an interesting juxtaposition of the past and present celebration of the three festivals. It also presents the outcome of interactive collaborations between the event organisers and government departments.
 
     Among some 80 archival records, photographs and publications on display, the most historically significant is a batch of records relating to Tai Miu, the Tin Hau Temple located at Joss House Bay in Sai Kung. Tai Miu, a Grade 1 historic building, is believed to be the oldest and largest temple for worshipping Tin Hau in Hong Kong. Records show that during a government expedition in 1959 to inspect a rock inscription at Joss House Bay dating back to the Southern Song Dynasty, the historical origin of Tai Miu was established and Tai Miu has since been developed into a cultural and tourist site. Another archival record reveals that the Chinese character "sau" (meaning "longevity"), was once printed on buns distributed during the Cheung Chau Jiao Festival. The characters "ping on" (meaning "peace") on the buns today appeared only in 2005 when the Bun Scrambling Competition resumed in the same year. The Public Records Office, through a multimedia presentation of the venue setting and items contributed from the community, will bring the old days of the Yu Lan Ghost Festival of the Hong Kong Chiu Chow community back to life. This is a highlight of the exhibition which should not be missed.
 
     If a more laid-back tour is preferred, please visit the online exhibition at www.grs.gov.hk/ws/online/festival/en/index.html where over 100 precious historical photographs, lists of archival records as well as library holdings on traditional festivals of Hong Kong are available for easy searching and access. The Public Records Office has also launched a Facebook page (fb.com/grs.publicrecordsoffice) to introduce its holdings and events to visitors, facilitating interactions with the wider community.
 
     A joy that is shared is a joy made double. If members of the public have photographs related to the three festivals, please take part in the public engagement activity titled "[email protected]" and contribute these items to the Public Records Office. The Public Records Office will select suitable items for uploading to the online exhibition and posting at the Search Room for sharing with other visitors. For details, please refer to the online exhibition.
 
     The "Folk Festivals in Those Days ..." exhibition is open from today (June 12) onwards from Monday through Friday, from 9am to 5.45pm (except for public holidays) at the Exhibition Hall on the second floor of the Hong Kong Public Records Building at 13 Tsui Ping Road, Kwun Tong. Admission is free. The Public Records Office will also hold roving exhibitions, debuting on June 19 at Sam Tung Uk Museum in Tsuen Wan. For details, please visit the Government Records Service website (www.grs.gov.hk) or call the Public Records Office at 2195 7700.
 
     In light of the COVID-19 epidemic, cleaning and disinfection measures will be stepped up at the Exhibition Hall. Visitors must undergo temperature checks before entering the Hong Kong Public Records Building. They are recommended to wear their own face masks. Those with body temperatures above the prescribed level or those who refuse to take temperature checks will not be allowed to enter the Building.
 
Ends/Friday, June 12, 2020
Issued at HKT 15:53
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The exhibition "Folk Festivals in Those Days …" by the Public Records Office opens from today (June 12), showcasing festivals celebrated past and present through archival holdings. Photo shows the "piu sik" parade of the Cheung Chau Jiao Festival. "Piu sik" was introduced by Cheung Chau islanders from Foshan, Guangdong in the early 20th century to make the grand parade more attractive. It has always been a highlight of the Festival over the years.
The exhibition "Folk Festivals in Those Days …" by the Public Records Office opens from today (June 12), showcasing festivals celebrated past and present through archival holdings. Photo shows the Bun Scrambling Competition in 1969 (left) and 2012 (right). The Bun Scrambling Competition is the finale of the Cheung Chau Jiao Festival. People believe that scrambling for buns can bring them good luck. The event was interrupted since 1979 owing to safety concerns. When it was revived in 2005, the bun tower was supported by a steel frame. Upon advice from the Hong Kong Mountaineering Union (currently known as China Hong Kong Mountaineering and Climbing Union), the Government has integrated modern climbing techniques with the local tradition, such that the Bun Scrambling Competition can be staged in a safe and orderly manner.
The exhibition "Folk Festivals in Those Days …" by the Public Records Office opens from today (June 12), showcasing festivals celebrated past and present through archival holdings. Photo shows a stamp image bearing the Chinese character "sau" (longevity) for auspicious buns in 1980 (left), and the replica of "ping on buns" stamped with Chinese characters "ping on" (peace) for the Bun Scrambling Competition in 2007 (right). The Chinese character printed on the buns in the Cheung Chau Jiao Festival has been changing along with time. Since the revival of the Bun Scrambling Competition in 2005, the Chinese characters "ping on" have been stamped on the buns. The "ping on bun", which has become one of the symbols of the festival, is named after the Chinese characters.
The exhibition "Folk Festivals in Those Days …" by the Public Records Office opens from today (June 12), showcasing festivals celebrated past and present through archival holdings. Photo shows a panel (left) and a multimedia presentation (right) in the exhibition demonstrating the events of the Yu Lan Ghost Festival based on the venue layout plan of the Yu Lan Ghost Festival of the Hong Kong Chiu Chow community kept by the Public Records Office, together with the collections of community groups and scholars.
The exhibition "Folk Festivals in Those Days …" by the Public Records Office opens from today (June 12), showcasing festivals celebrated past and present through archival holdings. Photo shows a pair of tin flagons contributed by the Tung Tau Estate Yu Lan Sing Association Limited, having been used for offerings to the deities in the Yu Lan Ghost Festival. This pair of flagons, still being used today, were donated by the Hong Kong famous tinware craftsmen Chaoyang Yan clan in the 1960s. Tinware has become uncommon nowadays, rendering this pair of flagons relatively rare.
The exhibition "Folk Festivals in Those Days …" by the Public Records Office opens from today (June 12), showcasing festivals celebrated past and present through archival holdings. Photo shows a stone rubbing of the rock inscription at Joss House Bay (left) and the text of the inscription (right). The Government, in a field trip to Joss House Bay in 1959, studied a rock inscription which documented a visit to the place by officials of the Southern Song Dynasty 700 years ago. The inscription helped the Government acknowledge the historical value of Tai Miu. The rock inscription is now a declared monument.
The exhibition "Folk Festivals in Those Days …" by the Public Records Office opens from today (June 12), showcasing festivals celebrated past and present through archival holdings. Photo shows the Tin Hau Temple (known as Tai Miu) in Joss House Bay, Sai Kung in 1970 (left) and in 2011 (right). As a Grade 1 historic building, Tai Miu, believed to have been built in 1266 during the Southern Song Dynasty, is the oldest and biggest Tin Hau temple in Hong Kong.
The exhibition "Folk Festivals in Those Days …" by the Public Records Office opens from today (June 12), showcasing festivals celebrated past and present through archival holdings. Photo shows worshippers proceeding to Joss House Bay to celebrate the Tin Hau Festival in 1961 (left) and 1971 (centre). Image on the right shows Joss House Bay on an ordinary day in 2005. After a government field trip to Joss House Bay in 1959 to study the rock inscription, members of the trip suggested construction of a pier to facilitate visits to the temple. Before the Joss House Bay Pier was built, worshippers going to Joss House Bay by ships to celebrate the Tin Hau Festival had to walk onshore through temporary pontoon bridges (left). After construction of the Joss House Bay Pier, people can celebrate the festival in Tai Miu by taking ferries to the pier.