Hoping for another miracle

Central Station | 18 May 2021

Did you know that Cheung Chau's famous bun festival originated from fighting an epidemic?

The festival originated in the 19th century, when the outlying island was hit by an epidemic. Inhabitants invited a monk to Chueng Chau for a ritual, while they went on a vegetarian diet for three days.

The epidemic was eventually contained and the ritual has since become an annual tradition. Though such festivities may not work with combating the global Covid-19 pandemic, residents still performed the traditional rituals yesterday - albeit on a smaller scale - hoping that the miracle will once again bestow on them.

Given social distancing measures, there will be no parade and bun scrambling competition on Buddha's Birthday tomorrow for the second year in a row.

But other traditional rituals were held at 1am yesterday on the sixth day in the fourth month of the Lunar calendar, under the witness of dozens of Cheung Chau residents.

In an elderly home, staffers made models of the coronavirus and sent them away on paper boats to signify their hope for an end to the pandemic.

The festival organizers said despite the cancellation of trademark events, ping on buns will still be distributed around the island on the day after Buddha's birthday.

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