The Leisure and Cultural Services Department announced this week the first batch of 20 representative items of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Hong Kong, a list compiled by the Intangible Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee.
The list is aimed at helping the government prioritize resources and safeguard measures for those with an urgent need for preservation.
Those on the shortlist selected from an inventory of 480 items include the Hong Kong-style milk tea making technique, the sewing techniques of Hong Kong-style cheongsam and kwan kwa wedding costume, and the bamboo theatre building technique, among others.
Here are some of the highlights:
Hong Kong-style milk tea making technique: Hong Kong-style milk tea is also known as “silk stocking milk tea”, made through the ration of different kinds of tea leaves, boiling and infusing as well as force-pouring the tea and the milk. The milk tea is a fusion beverage of local and western tastes.
Herbal teas: aka “leung cha”, or “cooling tea” is a decoction of Chinese medicinal herbs made according to traditional medicine theories to prevent the heat and damp symptom-complex, to cool the body and prevent common cold since the climate of southern China is hot and damp. Today, herbal teas are still very much a part of everyday life and are representative of folk knowledge and traditional culture.
Sewing techniques of Hong Kong-style cheongsam and Kwan Kwa wedding costume: Men’s cheongsam is a symbol of the identity and superiority within a clan while the sewing technique for women’s cheongsam is a combination of western design and traditional form. Kwan kwa, mostly decorated with dragons and phoenixes, is handmade and a traditional gown for the bride.
Bamboo theatre building technique: During the birthdays of deities, the jiao festivals or the Yu Lan Festival, various communities would have a temporary bamboo structure erected at the designated venue, for the purpose of staging Chinese opera performances as thanksgiving to the deities. The makeshift structure is made up of bamboo poles and fir beams, erected as standards and ledgers to form frameworks. Covered with metal sheets, the gigantic “tent” can keep out the sun and the rain. The size of a bamboo theatre can sometimes be big enough for thousands.
Mid-Autumn Festival - the Pok Fu Lam Fire Dragon Dance: It is held during Mid-Autumn Festivals (on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month). Dozens of athletic men from Pok Fu Lam Village would wield the fire dragon with agility as they parade through the streets and lanes in the village to invoke blessings for well-being and peace. The entire process consists mainly of crafting and modelling of the dragon, consecration, dragon dance and sending the fire dragon to the sea.
Tin Hau festival: Tin Hau temples all over Hong Kong are main venues of worship for followers of the deity, Tin Hau (Goddess of Heaven). This practice serves to bond villagers and the fishing communities through communal worship and each year, on the 23rd day of the third lunar month, people would celebrate the birthday of the Goddess, with Cantonese opera performances and exchange the fa pau (paper floral tributes). Some may also hold parades on land or at sea.
The selection criteria include the item is transmitted from generation to generation and has a dynamic and living nature, or with distinct traits of an ethnic group or a region, or manifests the characteristics of the local living culture.
The General Chinese Charities Fund, under the purview of the Home Affairs Bureau, will launch a pilot scheme to provide funding for activities promoting intangible cultural heritage items at the community level.
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