“Lai Chi Wo! Village Fest” Back to Basics: Nourish the City with Joy from Villages! Two Main Themes for Experiencing Lai Chi Wo Comprehensively

“Lai Chi Wo! Village Fest” (hereinafter “the Village Fest”) was officially launched today (December 21, Saturday). Professor Lam Wai-Fung and Dr Winnie Law, Director and Deputy Director of the Centre for Civil Society and Governance at the University of Hong Kong, Lai Chi Wo village chiefs Mr Tsang Ah-Chat and Mr Tsang Wai-Yip, “Art for All” artist team and around 200 participants gathered together to sing Hakka folk songs along with Hakka folk song researcher Dr Stephen Cheung and local Hakka villagers dressed in traditional costumes, witnessing the opening of the Village Fest.

The Village Fest will be held on two consecutive weekends on 21, 22, 28 and 29 December. It has two main themes – “Hakka Culture” and “Joyful Earth”. Apart from large-scale co-creation activities in the morning, there are also a number of workshops related to Hakka culture, villages, rural environment and food in the afternoon, allowing participants to experience the joy of Hakka village life through Hakka folk song singing, soil moulding, exhibition guided tours, Hakka embroidered band knitting, earthen kiln cooking, mud brick making, and medicinal herb discovery.

The activities of the Village Fest emphasise the wisdom and fun of rural life, which include a guided tour to help participants understand how villagers in the past made use of various herbs to meet their daily needs and to cure diseases. There is also an experiential workshop to introduce how Hakka ladies knitted Hakka embroidered bands with different patterns and colours to reflect their marital status and their wishes for the future. Villagers and performers wear colourful dyed Hakka costumes using traditional plant dyeing technique. Apart from the Hakka blue dye, turmeric and sumu are also used to add bright colours of yellow and red.

The Village Fest is the first large-scale community co-created event in Lai Chi Wo. It is organised by the Policy for Sustainability Lab of the Centre for Civil Society and Governance at the University of Hong Kong, co-organised by Lai Chi Wo Pui Shing Tong, and curated by “Art for All” and “On Earth” artist teams. Local artists and Lai Chi Wo villagers jointly curated a variety of creative activities for participants to experience the vibrancy of the Hakka village with their five senses. Through rediscovering the joyful nature of sustainable rural life, participants will get to understand the mutually supportive relationship between urban and rural areas, and put a new lifestyle into practice based on the spirit of rural-urban sustainable symbiosis.

The Village Fest is part of the “HSBC Rural Sustainability” programme. The Village Fest and other community co-created projects of the programme adopt a solidarity-based partnership model. Artists and specialist groups are invited to collaborate with rural communities to help identify and utilise rural capital, and to enhance the vibrancy of rural communities through an array of activities related to Hakka reinvention, rural art and education, natural craftsmanship and technology suitable for rural life.