I was sorting thru some of the pictures taken during the great vacation period of three months (October, November and December 2013) as it was taking up quite a lot of space in my new laptop and there was this series of pictures that I’ve taken of the famous temple in Wong Tai Sin District in Kowloon.
The temple is probably most famous for the commonly held belief that ‘what you wish for is what you get’, the process of which may be interpreted via fortune sticks.
Incidentally, the day that we visited Wong Tai Sin Temple was the Double Ninth Festival (重九節) or the Chung Yeung Festival (重陽節) in 2013 (more on that later). As usual, festival or not, the temple was crowded with tourists and locals alike.
It was a sunny, late summer day in Hong Kong but the weather was not as humid as in Malaysia.
Quite a number of visitors love to touch the pair of ‘piyao’ at the entrance of the temple. Normally, the Mainland Chinese are seen doing this as evidenced by the fat guy at the bottom right corner.
Yue Lao greets you cordially near the entrance as you make your way to the main temple complex.
He is widely believed by the Chinese to be the deity of marriage and love. Devotees to the temple could tie a red string upon either one of the red ropes leading to a married couple (of different gender, of course) located on either side of Yue Lao. If you are female, then you should tie on the bridegroom’s side – and vice versa for the male devotee. There are instructions in Chinese to do this ritual correctly and it involves some fingerwork.
Out of respect and consideration of other devotees, I didn’t take pictures of the main prayer hall. In addition, all temple visitors are required to carry out their prayers outside the main prayer hall (i.e. place the joss sticks at the incense urns) as the sheltered area is off limits, presumably to preserve the sanctity of the inner temple.
I did make a wish within this area and obtained a fortune stick in divine reply. Since the ‘cim’ was inscribed in classical form of Chinese, I left the interpretation to one of those fortune tellers who set up shop just a short way to the side.
Apparently, the fortune teller who attended to me could speak English as well although I‘m also comfortable with Cantonese. In the end, we both communicated in smattering mixture of both since her halting English made some vital meanings lost on me whereas some deeper Cantonese terms are alien to my vocabulary. To illustrate – as I’ve said earlier, we visited Wong Tai Sin Temple on the Chung Yeung festival day itself (although I learnt of this in hindsight when we were comfortably back in our serviced apartment in Jordan) – the clairvoyant explained something along the lines that one of my predictions was special because it was the day that ‘people in Hong Kong go up the mountain and it is very good because it signified rising up.’…or something like that .
One tip as well if you are a believer – you are also allowed to close your eyes and pick a fortune paper from the stacks the clairvoyant has in her store too if you have any additional wishes that you didn’t manage to pray for within the main prayer area. According to her, it’s the same as making a wish up at the main prayer area. Mind – I haven’t yet seen the fruition of my wishes till today although everything in the predictions were (and I mean it literally) top of the world etc., so I’d say – just keep the faith!
Now, with these certain positive buoyancy assured (sometimes, these positive vibes are good for the soul), we headed to the lovely gardens behind the main temple complex. This is the Nine Dragon Wall pictured with the pond filled with turtles, although it’s not possible to see any in the above picture.
This is a closer look at the same pond. Just look at the amount of coins which litter the bottom.
This is the commemorative tablet to mark the diamond jubilee of the Sik Sik Yuen Organization (嗇色園). On the assumption that ‘diamond jubilee’ meant the 60th anniversary (as opposed to the similarly attributed 75th anniversary), then it would mean that the organization was formed in 1921 (i.e. 1981 – 60 years).
This is the narrow pathway leading to the pavilion behind the Nine-Dragon Wall.
Well, here we are – the second pond.
Here is the pathway leading to the exit.
I wanted to take pictures of the Buddhist prayer hall as well as the Confucian hall but security personnel within the area were cordoning off some areas as we were told that priests would be forming a procession leading to the main prayer hall shortly.
All in all, it was a lovely morning. I wish that I’d taken more pictures but I was also an active participant myself in the prayer rituals. Next time, perhaps, and soon.