Dancing with an incensed dragon

This ornate straw-stuffed dragon stuck with hundreds of incense sticks wound its way through Pok Fu Lam village in Hong Kong on Monday as part of a traditional celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival.

The dragon was carried by volunteers through the narrow paths of the village in the east of Hong Kong Island, billowing fragrant smoke and shaking its head in front of doorways to bring good luck and health to residents.

The fire dragon dance is thought to date back hundreds of years as a ritual to chase away plague. There are other dragon dances in Hong Kong, most famously in the fashionable neighbourhood of Tai Hang.

Pok Fu Lam residents said it is important to keep the tradition alive in the village, which has seen its population dwindle as young people move away.

"We should hand this down to the next generations. It makes me proud," said one 17-year old resident who gave his name as Jonathan, adding that it was the first time he had helped to make the dragon.

Villager Antonio Fong, in his 60s, said it was an important event for the community.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 26, 2018, with the headline 'Dancing with an incensed dragon'. Print Edition | Subscribe