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5 Fun Facts about the Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance

5 fun facts about Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance

Every Mid-Autumn Festival, a blazing fire dragon comes alive as it traverses the streets and alleys of Tai Hang. Renowned for its vibrant energy and cultural significance, the Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance dates back to the 19th century and is officially listed as a National Intangible Cultural Heritage. But there’s more to this enchanting spectacle than meets the eye — read on as we reveal five secrets that make the fire dragon dance a truly unique and unforgettable experience.

1. The fire dragon is longer than five buses parked end to end!

The fire dragon is massive — measuring 67 metres long, it’s as long as five and a half double-decker buses! Its head alone weights 48 kg and the entire dragon is adorned with around 12,000 burning incense sticks. It’s so heavy that it takes 300 people to carry it during the three-night parade in Tai Hang.

2. The eye-dotting ceremony is where the dragon comes to life

Right before the start of the Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance parade, an eye-dotting ceremony takes place at Lin Fa Kung (meaning ‘Palace of Lotus Flower’), a temple dedicated to Kwun Yum, the Goddess of Mercy. During the ritual, paint is dotted onto the dragon’s eyes, symbolising the awakening of the dragon.

3. It’s not just a parade — look out for the dance tricks and patterns!

During the performance, the fire dragon doesn’t simply parade through the streets of Tai Hang; but the dance team also performs a number of impressive tricks that will leave you mesmerised. Look out for patterns like ‘The Awakening’, ‘The Circling’, ‘Bridge Crossing’ and ‘Double-Pillar Mount’. Each of these breathtaking maneuvers is a rare photo opportunity!

4. The pearl-bearers have to walk backwards.

The pearls play a crucial role in guiding the majestic dragon along its path. To ensure the dragon follows the right direction, the performers carrying the pearls have to face the dragon and walk backwards. That requires precision and coordination as these dedicated performers navigate the streets.

5. The fire dragon’s incense sticks are given away as blessings.

Tradition has it that the incense sticks from the dragon are distributed to the audience, symbolising blessings and good fortune. So, don’t forget to get your incense stick as a token of luck!

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