Looking to stars, Hong Kong fortune tellers see only clouds
Over the Lunar New Year holiday Hong Kong’s Che Kung Temple is packed with worshippers hoping for a better year ahead [Tyrone Siu/Reuters]
Hong Kong, China – In uncertain times, people in Hong Kong found comfort in tradition, as they rang in the Year of the Rat with certain rituals.
During the four-day holiday weekend many headed to the temples, where under the watch of deities, worshippers and well-wishers alike found clues to what lay ahead.
One of the most popular sites is the Che Kung Temple in suburban Hong Kong, founded in the late 19th century to commemorate General Che of the Song Dynasty (960-1279), who fled south with the child king to avoid the invading Mongols. Respect for his courage and loyalty has inspired faith in the temple that carries his name, as well as all manner of divination that emanates from it.
On Monday, by tradition, the representatives of the indigenous villages paid their respects at the temple and sought out the fortunes for the semi-autonomous Chinese city – by shaking out a bamboo stick from a tube of a hundred.
Each stick is labelled as portending good, bad or so-so luck and numbered to correspond to a riddle wrapped up in references to ancient legends.
After some shaking by the village representative, the No 79 fortune stick fell out. It presages middling luck and a corresponding story along these opening lines:
“Fairness rules heaven and earth. No one escapes the sight of the Almighty.”