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People take part in a bun scrambling competition during the Bun Festival in Cheung Chau Island in Hong Kong, Friday, May 26, 2023.

Clanging gongs, dragon dances and costumed children paraded on poles heralded the return of the Bun Festival to Hong Kong's island of Cheung Chau on Friday after three years of a pandemic-induced hiatus.

Thousands flocked to the island, only accessible by ferry, where the "Piu Sik" parade kicked off the festival's penultimate day when all the main events are held.

One of Hong Kong's most popular cultural traditions, the five-day festival dates back to the 1800s when, according to legend, Cheung Chau's fisherfolk drove away pirates and the plague by parading a statue of Taoist sea deity Pak Tai.