image A bit of the traditional…

Here are a few photos from my collection, showcasing some of Hong Kong’s religious heritage.

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In Man Mo temple, coils of burning incense hang from the ceiling, thickening the air. Here it seems the more the better, with worshippers often grasping huge bundles of incense sticks to show their devotion. Prayers are written on red pieces of paper. The colour red plays an important role in Chinese tradition, typically symbolizing good fortune.

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Offerings such as fruit can be left in small temples, such as pictured below. There must be hundreds of these scattered around Hong Kong, but even more numerous are the tiny alcoves built into the sides of buildings and shop fronts. These small shrines, or alters, are usually only a foot or so high and it is normal for shop keepers to light incense here in the morning, presumably to bring good fortune to their establishment.

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Yesterday I accompanied my friend Pikkei, whilst she purchased some red envelopes in which to enclose some cash, to give to a couple who were getting married. The shop we visited was full of paper models depicting anything and everything, from footballs and ipads to toothpaste and hair-dryers. My friend told me that these models were burnt at funerals, so that the goods depicted would be sent to the deceased in the afterlife. There seems something bazaar about the incorporation of McDonalds, or packets of cigarettes, in any religious ceremony but I suppose that’s just what they do here in Hong Kong; they take what they like from the present and the past, and from East and West, and incorporate it into a culture which, whilst an accumulation of parts, is uniquely theirs.

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