Fire Dragon Parade

Dragon has a special meaning in the Chinese culture. In the Western world, it is often viewed as a creature that wreaks havoc. In China, however, the dragon is a benevolent creature that brings forth good weather, fortune and power. Consequently, many regions have festivities that feature dragons in one form or another - Fire Dragon of Fengshun, Hong Kong and Guizhou, Water Dragon of Guangdong and Drunken Dragon of Zhongshan, to name a few.

Fire Dragon of Fengshun is special. The event is strictly a local affair, sponsored by business associations or affluent families. Each dragon is studded with upwards of $100,000 RMB of fireworks. The event takes place on January 15th on the lunar calendar.

Once the fireworks are lit, locals would rush in to receive the fortune (sparks) that come raining down and makes this a complete chaos. The first time I went, I did not venture into the centre and consequently did not have good results. The second time I was prepared. I wore an overall and a motorcycle helmet to ward off the sparks. Because of the immense humanity, it was impossible to focus amid the crowd. I simply raised the camera (with a very wide angle) way above my head to shoot. Only when I returned to Toronto that I realized I got a good image.

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