Tam Kung Festival – celebrate the birthday of Tam Kung

tam kung festival hong kong

Tam Kung Festival is on the eighth day of the fourth lunar month, the same day as the Buddha’s birthday. Every year, worshippers flock to Tam Kung Temple to pay homage to Tam Kung. It is one of the most vibrant Hong Kong Cultural Celebrations. This year, the date of the festival is 12 May 2019.

Who is Tam Kung

Tam Kung, literally Lord Tam, is a sea deity worshipped by many people in Hong Kong and Macau. During the Ming and Qing Dynasties, many Hong Kong residents subsist on fishing and therefore temples were built in villages to worship Tam Kung where people pray for the protection and safety at sea.

About the legend

Tam Kung was born in Huizhou in Guangdong province. He was regarded as a child prodigy in the Early Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644). According to legend, he was capable of forecasting the weather and healing the ill at the age of 12. He was simple goodness and eager to help, fishermen and coastal communities deified him consequently. It was believed that he mastered the art of immortality at a young age, and was able to remain forever young. As many Hong Kong fishermen and immigrants came from Huizhou, the cult of Tam Kung worship was spread to Hong Kong.


On the birthday of Tam Kung, crowds of worshippers cluster around Tam Kung Temple with reverence. Fishing boats are nicely decorated, bamboo theatres are set up in front of the temples for live performances of Chinese opera. What a lively scene! Before the show, worshippers would respectfully move Tam Kung status from the temple to the theatre and so Tam Kung can enjoy the performances together with worshippers which is of great religious significance. Dragon dance and lion dance will be performed as well.

Almost all Tam Kung temples in Hong Kong would celebrate this festival, the celebration of Tam Kung Temple in Shau Kei Wan is the largest and most worth seeing. The Temple there was built in 1905 and was renovated in 2002. It has been classified as a historical building in Hong Kong. Tam Kung Festival has become one of the largest festivity in the Shau Kei Wan District. In the Tam Kung Festival Parade, a number of martial arts societies are gather together to perform their specialties, like lion dancing on top of a bamboo pole and kung-fu performance, which transform the religious parade into a martial arts carnival.

Festivities at Shau Kei Wan

  • Date: 12 May 2019
  • Time: 9am to 3pm
  • Event: Dragon and lion dance parade (from Shau Kei Wan Street East to Tam Kung Temple)
How to get there

MTR Shau Kei Wan Station, Exit C. Follow Shau Kei Wan Main Street East and walk for a couple of minutes to Tam Kung Temple.

Are you going to join the Tam Kung Festival or any other Hong Kong Cultural Celebrations?

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