“Vacation? Never expect a great deal this calendar year,” replies Master Joseph Wong, 1 of Hong Kong’s most famed fortune tellers and feng shui authorities. “Journey will be pretty gradual to recover all over the place. I really don’t think we will have any travelers in Hong Kong for some time.”
It truly is not the solution any individual wants to listen to, in particular not this vacation journalist.
My own looking through for the impending Calendar year of the Ox is tiny greater: “You will have an accident – but will not get worried, you will not die,” he tells me cheerfully, followed by a vibrant anecdote about kitchen knives.
Dressed in a yellow silk tunic, Learn Wong is a person of 161 clairvoyants who ply their trade at Wong Tai Sin Temple, a significant Crayola-colored Taoist temple that has been a aspect of Hong Kong everyday living for about 100 years. Before the pandemic, it would receive about 10,000 people a working day, a combination of both equally locals and vacationers who would occur for race readings, palm readings, astrological readings, prayers and suggestions for the year ahead. In the operate up to Chinese New Year it would usually be bursting at the seams. This year is naturally going to be unique.
Hong Kong has fared effectively as considerably as Covid goes (the oppressive political problem is an additional issue), struggling 177 fatalities so far, and whilst most of the Lunar New Year celebrations have been considerably scaled back as element of the ongoing restrictions there is even now a good deal of spectacle to be identified close to town.
Dining places continue being shut in the night so I began my homage to the Ox yr (which falls on February 12-15 2021) with a CNY set lunch at Yung’s Bistro. The youthful, hipper, recently-opened offshoot of a single of Hong Kong’s oldest Chinese places to eat, Yung Kee, it has jade green partitions and a substantial terrace overlooking the harbour.
On the menu are a variety of delicious traditional dishes assumed to be auspicious: chrysanthemum shrimp dumplings (their yellow-gold colour symbolising wealth in the coming calendar year) three varieties of barbecued meats to symbolize the gods of Fortune (Fu), Prosperity (Lu), and Longevity (Shou) scallops with extra fat choi black moss (the pronunciation of ‘fat’ is the same as the Chinese phrase for ‘making heaps of money’). You can find also rice to preserve our stomachs comprehensive for the calendar year ahead and a baked almond dessert to continue to keep our interactions sweet.
Soon after six heavenly courses and in have to have of a good walk, I satisfy my guide Vida from Jebsen Holidays. I am the initially visitor she’s has in months nevertheless she remains upbeat as we commence out our fortune telling tour at Yau Ma Tei’s Jade Marketplace exactly where a couple dozen hardy hawkers proceed flog bracelets, necklaces, trinkets and collectible figurines.
“Commonly you would consult your feng shui learn 1st, then you would appear here to invest in the points you need,” says Vida as we stroll in between cascades of green, product and purple stones. “At the conclusion of the calendar year, area folks like to invest in carvings of dragons, lions, and pixiu (a muscular winged lion) to greatly enhance their vitality.”
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The high quality of the jade is questionable (you have to go to Hong Kong’s high-conclude jewellers for the authentic offer) but the selling prices are affordable and even if you are not intrigued in feng shui there are lots of elegant souvenirs. I leave with a tasselled black stone pendant (£12) – purely attractive – and a little rat amulet to hang off my cellular phone (£2), which I’m advised will ward off any negative ox vibes.
From listed here, we scoot throughout Kowloon, passing shows of peach blossom, bobbing lanterns and purple and gold banners outdoors malls and office environment blocks, to Shatin Che Kung Temple. Named just after a Music Dynasty typical who is said to have rid Shatin of the plague, I can odor incense and hear bells ringing in advance of I see the temple’s imposing gate. Within, there is a courtyard with stalls providing ornately embellished packs of incense, candles and joss paper cash (costing any where from £7 to £350).
A peak roofed hall homes a big golden statue of the fearsome-on the lookout typical. “Most men and women arrive here on the 3rd day of the New 12 months to spin the pin wheel,” claims Vida pointing to an previous copper windmill. “To continue to keep your luck spin clockwise or to adjust your luck spin anti-clockwise.” I image that a ton of people will be sporting gloves to do it this yr.
There are fortune tellers at Che Kung much too, but the tour can take us on to Master Joseph at Wong Tai Sin, right before heading to Mongkok Flower Marketplace. Spread all-around 3 blocks, there are dozens and dozens of shops, each and every with a forest of vegetation and greenery spilling out on to the pavement. It feels like a minor Technicolor globe amid Mongkok’s gray skyscrapers.
Vida and I walk by a grove of mandarin orange trees. “In Mandarin, the pronunciation seems very similar to the term for fantastic luck,” Vida tells me. There are also fortunate bamboo for prosperity and vocation accomplishment, money trees for – you guessed it – and orchids for adore and fertility. After my reading through with Master Wong, my flat now appears to be like Kew Gardens.
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