Eat it or climb it? What a dilemma at the annual Cheung Chau Bun Festivalheld in Hong Kong on the eighth day of the fourth month in the Chinese calendar.
Thousands of locals and tourists will pile onto the tiny island of Cheung Chau, close to Hong Kong Island, to celebrate what was once a festival for the fishing community to pray for safety from pirates.
The festival lasts for seven days during which the entire island goes vegetarian and even the famous burger chain sells mushroom burgers! There are colourful and lively lion dances and dragon dances but the main focus has to be the bun snatching part of the festivities!
Bun mountains are constructed using three bamboo towers, 60 feet tall and covered with delicious steamed buns, iconic in shape and stamped with distinctive crimson characters. Young men from the fishing community scramble up the towers to claim the highest bun and bring their family the most luck. Following a ‘bun rush’ in 1978 just three men are now allowed to climb the bun tower after the tower partially collapsed and injured people.
The festival has been somewhat changed since 2007 with the introduction of plastic buns which definitely do not sound as tasty as the real thing!