Fire dragon dance lights up Doumen night
The Burning Bamboo Stick Incense folk custom was celebrated on Aug 26 at Hengshan Village of Domen's Lianzhou Town to bestow seeds of kindness, good fortune, safety, and favorable weather for crops.
Traditionally held on the 30th day of the seventh lunar month to provide sacrifices to the King of the Inferno, the event featured women in traditional clothing brandishing two fire dragons that symbolized male and female dragons under the banyan trees. Following the guidance of the light ball, the two "dragons" changed different positions, depicting actions like praying, circling, and dancing.
After the fire dragon dance, the male and female "dragons" began touring the village, followed by two small "dragons." Resting-piers for the incense made by villagers were laid alongside the tour route and three incense sticks were inserted on each resting-pier.
Children join the tour of the fire dragons [Photo by Zhang Fan and Chen Yizhen / Zhuhai Daily]
Huang Shumin, a tourist from Qianwu Town, said that it was her first time participating in the event and that it was very interesting.
The Burning Bamboo Stick Incense is a folk custom that has been in existence in water villages of Doumen's Lianzhou and Baijiao towns for more than 260 years. It is traditionally held on the 30th day of the seventh lunar month, which is the birthday of the King of the Inferno. The custom was designated as a provincial intangible cultural heritage item in 2012.
Zheng Shaojuan, inheritor of the custom since the 1960s, said that the two small "dragons" in the tour were added to the event in recent years to increase local youths' enthusiasm in participating in the ceremony as they generally lack an understanding of the custom.
Zheng added that people's zeal in participating in intangible cultural heritage events has significantly increased in recent years by cultivating inheritors and encouraging teenagers to take part in them.
The 300-year-old folk custom of Burning Bamboo Stick Incense was celebrated in Hengshan Village in Lianzhou Town of Doumen District on Sept 6 as sacrifice to the "King of the Inferno."