The Hong Kong Tourism Board recently conducted a virtual tour in conjunction with the Lunar New Year, with an education on a variety of auspicious traditions for the festive season. The virtual tour included visits to temples for rituals on how to better your luck, feng shui tips, how to write fai chun and also Chinese New Year snacks to buy.
Fortune In Hong Kong: Bettering Luck For The Year Of The Metal Ox
As the world is in a different place right now, everyone has taken the right precautions in celebrating the Chinese New Year. There will be no physical events this year, however, the Hong Kong Tourism Board has ensured that celebrations will be still go on through a three-week “Fortunes in Hong Kong” CNY campaign which will be held in an online+offline format from 8th February to 26th February, featuring a creative online market which offers CNY delicacies and specialties, along with content, including games, lucky feng shui tips and festive e-cards, allowing participants to feel the festive vibe across boundaries.
Yiu Fung Store 么鳳
At the creative online market, a collection of exclusive crossover products, jointly created by traditional local brands and trend-setting brands, are available for those who want to enjoy the CNY celebrations in style. Not to be missed is a first-time collaboration between local creative paper product company Papery and traditional snack store Yiu Fung, which is extremely busy during Chinese New Year when people shop for auspicious treats, such as candied lotus seeds (fertility), deep-fried sesame balls (happiness) and melon seeds (wealth). They created a festive candy box, which features a pop-up tangerine plant, which is a traditional Chinese symbol of good luck.
Cat Street Upper Lascar Row Antique Street Market 貓街
Upper Lascar Row features an endless row of antique stores, Chinese calligraphy, art and vintage furniture. This road is also colloquially called “cat street” (maau1 gaai1, 貓街) as it was initially known as the place where you can get stolen goods “mouse goods” (lou5 syu2 fo3, 老鼠貨) from. However, that has all changed today as the location has attracted local designer boutiques and vintage stores, as well as maintaining the sale of traditional trinkets. Upper Lascar Row is where feng shui master Thierry Chow shops for chic decorations that can help enhance your fortune in the Year of the Ox. She suggests the following: –
- Health: place round metalware like copper bowls, clocks and beads on the north side of your home to keep illness at bay.
- Travel: place a bronze horse in the southeast corner of your home to increase your chance of travelling.
- Career: place green plants on the east side of your home to enhance your career prospects.
- Wealth: place a warm yellow lamp on the west side to attract wealth.
- Love: she suggests wearing clothes with a floral pattern and carrying accessories featuring the infinity symbol.
Flower Market 花墟道
Whether you’re interested in roses, tangerine trees or bamboo, the Flower Market in Mong Kok has something for everyone. Known as Hong Kong’s premier destination for any type of horticultural interest, the Flower Market is open all year round and is especially crowded leading up to Chinese New Year, when many Hong Kong people pay a visit to buy auspicious plants. These are some of the most sought-after flowers and plants because of the different blessings each of them symbolises.
- Narcissus (seoi2 sin1, 水仙): Also know as the Chinese Sacred Lily, these are all-purpose good luck flowers believed to bring good fortune and prosperity for the whole family. It’s even better if you can time it so that the flowers bloom on the first day of Chinese New Year. They fill your home with a lovely fragrance.
- Peach Blossoms (tou4 faa1, 桃花): For those who are looking for romance or want to strengthen their romantic relationship, peach blossoms are perfect. You are supposed to walk around the plant three times in a clockwise direction to improve your chances of meeting a future romantic partner.
- Nipplefruit (ng5 zi2 ke4, 五指茄): This rather peculiar-looking plant bears bright yellow tropical fruits that are inedible. Its Chinese name says it all: five generations together. It blesses family harmony and safety across generations. It has a slightly figurative English name: nipplefruit.
- Moth Orchids (wu4 dip6 laan4, 蝴蝶蘭): These orchids have a beautiful Chinese name, which in English is butterfly orchids. Their popularity has exploded in recent years because of their elegant look and ease of maintenance. The different colours denote different blessings. For example, yellow is for business success, white is for friendship, and red is for passionate love.
Man Mo Temple 文武廟
The Man Mo Temple is one of the most renown temples in Hong Kong, paying tribute to the two patron gods, Man Tai (文帝), the God of Literature and Culture and Mo Tai (武帝), the God of Martial Arts. Man Tai (文帝) is also known as Man Cheong (文昌) to Southern Chinese while the Northern Chinese worship Confucius (孔夫子) instead, whereas Mo Tai (武帝) is personified by Kwan Tai (關帝), which is exalted by both. The Grade 1 historic building was built between 1847 and 1862 and remains the largest Man Mo temple in Hong Kong. The complex also includes Lit Shing Kung, created for the worship of all heavenly gods, and Kung Sor, just west of the temple, which was an important assembly hall, where community affairs and disputes were often discussed and settled. Today, parents will bring their children to pray for good grades, bringing a myriad of offerings.
- Blessings: School bags, stationery and textbooks for good grades.
- Spring Onions: Spring onions (cung1, 蔥) is homonym for clever (cung1 ming4, 聰明).
- Celery: Celery (kan4, 芹) is a homonym for hardworking (kan4 lik6, 勤力).
- Golden Pen: Touch the golden pen at the altar which is believed to bless your writing skills.
Wong Tai Sin Temple 黃大仙祠
Hong Kong’s Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple is home to three religions: – Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism, and pays tribute to famous monk Wong Tai Sin. Featuring five geomantic elements, the temple is as much a scenic attraction as it is an important religious centre.
- First Incense Of The Year: In the past there will be a tv crew to film the first person to place the first incense stick of the year, believing that the wish-granting is on a first-come, first-served basis, therefore people will queue up as early as 6.00 am. Wong Tai Sin is especially famous because of the many prayers it has reportedly answered.
- Kau Chim: Wong Tai Sin grants wishes through a practice also known as Lottery Poetry (kau4 chim1, 求籤) (to asking for a stick), which involves a worshipper shaking a bucket filled with fortune-telling sticks until one stick falls out. The sticks are numbered, and each number corresponds with an oracle, which gives guidance or an answer to a question. The worshipper can take this to a fortune teller or have a fortune-telling machine interpret the message.
- God of Love: Wong Tai Sim temple is also home to the God of Love (jyut6 haa6 lou5 jan4, 月下老人) where there is an elaborate ritual, whereby they curl their fingers around a red string and tie the string next to the statue of the gender in which they are interested, symbolizing a matchmaking request to the God of Love.
Che Kung Temple 車公廟
Che Kung Temple is dedicated to Che Kung, a Southern Song dynasty (1127–1279) military commander who escorted the last Song emperors to Hong Kong as they fled the Mongolian invaders. People in Sha Tin dedicated a temple to him about 300 years ago to stop the spread of a local epidemic which according to local lore, the disease vanished the day the temple was completed. This is why he is believed to suppressed plagues. Visitors today will encounter a giant statue of Che Kung, where prayers and offerings are made by interesting rituals. To enhance the blessing, many visitors buy a colourful pinwheels from one of the stalls outside to bring the good luck home.
- Drum Of Heaven (tin1 gu2, 天鼓): Hitting the Drum Of Heaven to announce to General Che that you are in the temple to worship him.
- Wheel Of Fortune (fung1, ce1, 風車): Spinning the pinwheels is believed to improve your luck in the coming year. It is said that if you had fairly good luck in the previous year, you should spin the blades clockwise to keep the trend going. But if you faced obstacles and you want to reverse your luck, you should spin it anti-clockwise.