Showing posts with label Religion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Religion. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Lunar New Year Lions in Jiangmen

During the Lunar New Year holiday in China many shops & restaurants close and many red signs with messages of good luck appear. Some places remain open, though, or reopen before the end of the holiday period. For those that do, they may experience a common Chinese tradition.

Today on Zhendong Road in Jiangmen I spotted (well, first heard from afar) a lion dance troupe.

Lion dance troupe at a shop in Jiangmen

After bringing some good luck and fortune to a shop in exchange for a red envelope stuffed with cash, the lion dance troupe headed on.

Lion dance troupe on a street in Jiangmen

Very quickly they found another shop desiring their services.

Lion dance troupe at a shop in Jiangmen

The action continued on Diaotai Road less than a block away from where I saw xiangqi being played two days ago.

Lion dance troupe at a shop in Jiangmen

Lion dance troupe at a shop in Jiangmen

Then after visiting a few shops down Xinshi Road . . .

Lion dance troupe on Xinshi Road in Jiangmen

. . . they started working their way down Taiping Road.

Lion dance troupe at a shop in Jiangmen

It wasn't long until they were bringing fortune to a familiar restaurant.

Lion dance troupe at a noodle restaurant in Jiangmen

And off they went while I enjoyed a meal across the street at a restaurant which had recently reopened after a holiday break. They didn't desire any lion dancing, but that was fine to me.

I had already been granted a brief personal performance.

Chinese lion in Jiangmen

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Guidance at Two Temples in Taipei

Learning . . .

Group of young students in front of Ling-Xing Gate at the Taipei Confucius Temple
Ling-Xing Gate at the Taipei Confucius Temple

and directions . . .

Man wearing "Taipei Baoan Temple" pointing a man in the right direction
Taipei Baoan Temple

weren't in short supply today at two nearby historic temples in Taipei.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Watching Out for Snakes in Taipei

When today at the edge of the Shuangxi Riverside Park in Taipei I saw a sign warning of snakes, admittedly I doubted any would cause me a problem.

"Watch Out for Snakes" sign in Shilin, Taipei

But later at the nearby Huiji Temple (惠濟宮) I realized perhaps I got lucky.

stone carving of scene of three men fleeing a very large snake in a tree

Consider yourself warned.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Falun Gong Brings Out the Drums in Taipei

"Lively" may not be the best choice for describing "Organ Harvesting" demonstrations by Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, at the Ximending shopping district in Taipei. But I would feel much safer using the word to describe something else Falun Gong does at Ximending.

Falun Gong adherents playing drums at Ximending in Taipei

One intended message of the drum performance appeared to be expressed on a sign behind them with the familiar message "Falun Dafa Is Good". This is partly to respond to accusations from China that Falun Gong is evil.

Like the claims of organ harvesting, drum performances by Falun Gong adherents are nothing new. One website "dedicated to reporting on the Falun Gong community worldwide" shares examples from places as far away as Philadelphia and Melbourne.

But you won't find them drumming in mainland China.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Monday, January 8, 2018

Shengming Temple in Taiwan

I had something else planned for here today. Planned. But instead of that, here are two photos of Shengming Temple (聖眀宫) in Jiufen, a historic town on the oceanside mountains of eastern New Taipei City:

Shengming Temple (聖眀宫) in Jiufen, New Taipei City

Shengming Temple (聖眀宫) in Jiufen, New Taipei City

Monday, December 4, 2017

A Time of Change and Digging at the Gude Temple in Wuhan

Even after visiting hundreds of Buddhist temples in China, the Gude Temple in Wuhan can catch you by surprise. According to a photo gallery featuring the temple on the Hubei Provincial People’s Government's website:
It was built in the 3rd year of Emperor Guangxu (1877) in the Qing Dynasty.

The present Great Buddhist Hall was built in 1921 and later was expanded into Gude Temple, which covers an area of 20000 square meters and has a floor space of 3600 square meters.

The Gude Temple was built according to style of the Alantuo Temple in Myanmar in an erratic combination of all thinkable architectural styles and traditions, being unique in construction of Buddhist temples in China’s hinterland.
I wouldn't describe the location as being in China's hinterland, but I agree the architecture is unlike any other temple I have seen in China. My recent visit was made all the more special thanks to work affecting much of the temple's grounds — reminiscent of the construction I walked through when I visited the Changchun Taoist Temple in Wuhan six years ago.

Below are some scenes which feature some of the change now occurring at Gude Temple as visitors still make their way around. The temple is easily reachable by going to Toudao Street Station on the Wuhan Metro and then walking down Gudesi Road. But that might not work in the not-too-distant future. Many of the areas near the temple are changing to a greater degree.

excavator moving a tree at Gudesi Temple

excavator moving a tree at Gudesi Temple

monk and workers at Gudesi Temple in Wuhan

excavator and truck at Gudesi Temple

excavator at Gudesi Temple

excavator at Gude Temple

excavator at Gude Temple

Gude Temple (古德寺) in Wuhan

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Burning with Spirit During Qingming in Guangzhou

Today on an old street in Guangzhou some iPhones, watches, and shoes burned.

paper watches, shoes, and iPhones burn

New clothing was added to the fire.

boxes with paper shirts, ties, and suits jacket burn

And more items, such as money and cigarettes, were added.

family burning paper replicas of items during Qingming

And the fire burned on.

paper replicas of various items burning

Eventually, all that was left of the items was a pile of ash.

ash on road

Water fully put out the burning.

boy throwing water onto smoking ash

And there was a quick cleanup of what remained.

woman cleaning up ashes with broom and dustbin

Had the family needed more to burn, a shop just a short walk away offered plenty of options.

shop selling paper replicas of various items

shop selling paper replicas of various items

paper clothing for sale

paper spirit money for sale

paper replicas of various items for sale

All of the items were paper replicas — part of a tradition of sending needed items to ancestors in the afterlife. Today was Qingming, Tomb-Sweeping Day, and many similar offering were made elsewhere in Guangzhou and the rest of China. Even if your beliefs differ, watching the burnings can feel cathartic.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Tin Hau Temple Tiger in Stanley, Hong Kong

At the Tin Hau Temple in Stanley, Hong Kong, I didn't witness any temple cleansings. But I did see something I didn't expect to find.

tiger skin at Tin Hau Temple in Stanley, Hong Kong

informational sign about the tiger skin at Tin Hau Temple in Stanley, Hong Kong

Accord to Geoffrey Charles Emerson in his book covering a part of the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong, "Hong Kong Internment, 1942-1945: Life in the Japanese Civilian Camp at Stanley":
In May 1942 one of the most unusual events of the internment years occurred. Although hardly an event of great importance, it is of great interest. For weeks there had been rumours in the Camp that a tiger was roaming around at night. As rumours were always prevalent, most internees refused to believe such a "preposterous" tale. Therefore, it came as great surprise when a male tiger weighing more than 200 pounds was killed just outside the Camp by a part of Japanese gendarmes, Chinese and Indian guards. The Hongkong News of 21 May 1942 reported that the tiger weighed about 240 pounds, was three feet high and six feet long with a nineteen-inch tail. Some of the Indian guards reported that they had also seen the tiger's mate and two cubs, but these were never found.

One of the internees, who had been a butcher with the Dairy Farm Company in Hong Kong before the war, was taken out of the Camp to skin the tiger. After being stuffed, it was put on exhibition in the city and attracted many viewers. The meat was not wasted, either, as The Hongkong News reported on 27 June that "thanks to the generosity of a Nipponese officer, some officials of the Hong Kong Race Club were recently given the rare treat of having a feast of tiger meat. The meat, which was as tender and delicious as beef, was from the tiger shot at Stanley.
No live tigers approached me in the area, though there were a few domestic cats. So I just had a salad by the beach.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Two Cleansings at a Hong Kong Temple

Like other Man Mo Temples in Hong Kong, the Man Mo Temple in Tai Po is dedicated to the God of Literature (Man) and the God of War (Mo). During my brief visit to the spiritual location I had the luck to witness two acts of cleansing.

cat cleaning itself in front of the Man Mo Temple in Tai To, Hong Kong

woman spraying water with a hose to clean the Man Mo Temple in Tai Po, Hong Kong

I don't know how often these cleansings occur, but some tranquility contrasting with the lively market on the street should be easy to find.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Taste of Chanukah in Wenzhou, China

Da Wang oil lamp cake (大王灯盏糕) restaurant in Wenzhou, China
A popular place for a local snack in Wenzhou

I didn't only observe many examples of the Christmas holiday in Wenzhou, China, this year. I also observed a Jewish tradition in the U.S. for December 25: I ate Chinese food.

Of course, finding Chinese food isn't too much of a challenge in China, but this time the local food in Wenzhou allowed me to also feel some of the Chanukah holiday spirit — particularly fitting since this year its first full day was also December 25.

oil lamp cakes (灯盏糕) in Wenzhou, China
Deep fried goodness

The deep fried cakes are very similar in concept and taste to the latkes (potato pancakes) commonly eaten by Jews in some parts of world during Chanukah, except they are made from shredded white radish instead of potato. They are also stuffed, most often with meat and egg. The place I went to this day offered a variety of options.

menu with variety of oil lamp cakes (灯盏糕)

I figured I would avoid the common pork filling on this day. I asked whether the 羊 (yáng) listed on the menu meant lamb or goat. No answer came right away, but eventually someone said "It should be lamb."

Good enough — either worked for me anyway.

inside of an oil lamp cake (灯盏糕)
That brief moment between being whole and disappearing

The radishy delight was tasty, although it left me craving applesauce.

To top it off, the name of the latke-like treats has a coincidental tie to the Chanukah story, which traditionally includes the miracle of one day's worth of oil lasting for eight days. Due to their shape, they are called oil lamp cakes (灯盏糕).

It will be hard for me to top this December 25th in China.