Thus far, the series has explored a few aspects of our city’s daily life through Hong Kong Pop Up, Land-based Public Transport and Mobile Delights by the Cartful. This time round, I’m digging deep into my roots and exploring our traditional festivities which are rich in both history and culture.
I was quite indifferent to local festivities when I was little－apart from knowing that there were holidays on certain occasions, my general impression was that a lot of formalities were involved. Being someone who disliked crowds, I found the celebrations rather exhausting. That was until I saw an exhibition at the Hong Kong Museum of History which gave me an insight into the historical and cultural values behind them. This, along with the amazing handicraft accompanying different celebrations, sparked my interest in festive customs. And so the journey began...
My most memorable experience was watching the fire dragon dance in Tai Hang. This traditional celebration takes place every Mid-Autumn Festival and always manages to bring the community together despite the absence of business opportunities associated with holidays such as Christmas and New Year’s. Every single detail－from the offering of incense to the deities to the eye dotting ceremony in front of Lin Fa Temple, and from the dragon’s adornment with incense to the broadcast explaining the custom’s origins－is given utmost attention by young and old alike, so as to carry on tradition. It’s deeply touching to see heritage come first and foremost. Moreover, I’ve discovered that the citizens of Hong Kong find solace in many of the festivities, which also provide opportunities for families to gather, thereby playing an integral part in unifying communities and creating a harmonious society.
The making of this book was also influenced by festivities in the literal sense－in order to have it published in time for the Chinese New Year, printing had to be completed before factory workers headed home for the holidays. On top of that, I wanted to spend a carefree Christmas break with my own family. And so, I toiled away day and night during non-festive days in hopes that everybody could enjoy the celebrations ahead!
Kit Lau has worked as a Chief illustrator, Art Director and Creative Director for magazines and animation studios. He is the Director and Art Director of the independent animated film My Mother is an Alien (2008) that garnered several awards in Hong Kong (IFVA) and Japan. In 2009, Lau published the critically acclaimed Hong Kong Pop Up, a pop-up book that chronicles the living conditions of a family over three generations and reflects on the transformation of Hong Kong over half a century.