“Journey? Never expect much this yr,” replies Learn Joseph Wong, just one of Hong Kong’s most famous fortune tellers and feng shui experts. “Vacation will be very gradual to get better just about everywhere. I do not feel we will have any travelers in Hong Kong for some time.”
It truly is not the remedy everyone desires to listen to, particularly not this travel journalist.
My personalized looking through for the impending Yr of the Ox is small better: “You will have an incident – but will not fret, you would not die,” he tells me cheerfully, followed by a vibrant anecdote about kitchen area knives.
Dressed in a yellow silk tunic, Master Wong is just one of 161 clairvoyants who ply their trade at Wong Tai Sin Temple, a massive Crayola-colored Taoist temple that has been a section of Hong Kong existence for over 100 many years. Just before the pandemic, it would acquire about 10,000 people a day, a mixture of both of those locals and travelers who would occur for race readings, palm readings, astrological readings, prayers and tips for the yr ahead. In the operate up to Chinese New Year it would normally be bursting at the seams. This year is naturally likely to be different.
Hong Kong has fared very well as much as Covid goes (the oppressive political scenario is an additional make any difference), suffering 177 deaths so significantly, and though most of the Lunar New Yr celebrations have been significantly scaled back as section of the ongoing constraints you can find however plenty of spectacle to be uncovered around town.
Places to eat continue to be closed in the night so I commenced my homage to the Ox calendar year (which falls on February 12-15 2021) with a CNY established lunch at Yung’s Bistro. The more youthful, hipper, recently-opened offshoot of 1 of Hong Kong’s oldest Chinese places to eat, Yung Kee, it has jade eco-friendly walls and a enormous terrace overlooking the harbour.
On the menu are a variety of delectable standard dishes considered to be auspicious: chrysanthemum shrimp dumplings (their yellow-gold color symbolising prosperity in the coming yr) 3 sorts of barbecued meats to symbolize the gods of Fortune (Fu), Prosperity (Lu), and Longevity (Shou) scallops with body fat choi black moss (the pronunciation of ‘fat’ is the same as the Chinese term for ‘making lots of money’). There’s also rice to hold our stomachs total for the calendar year forward and a baked almond dessert to preserve our associations sweet.
After six heavenly classes and in need to have of a very good stroll, I satisfy my guideline Vida from Jebsen Holiday seasons. I am the first guest she’s has in months still she continues to be upbeat as we get started out our fortune telling tour at Yau Ma Tei’s Jade Sector in which a handful of dozen hardy hawkers proceed flog bracelets, necklaces, trinkets and figurines.
“Ordinarily you would check with your feng shui learn initial, then you would arrive right here to get the issues you have to have,” states Vida as we stroll concerning cascades of inexperienced, cream and purple stones. “At the stop of the calendar year, community individuals like to get carvings of dragons, lions, and pixiu (a muscular winged lion) to enhance their electrical power.”
The high quality of the jade is questionable (you have to go to Hong Kong’s large-close jewellers for the actual deal) but the selling prices are acceptable and even if you’re not interested in feng shui there are a good deal of fashionable souvenirs. I leave with a tasselled black stone pendant (£12) – purely attractive – and a little rat amulet to cling off my phone (£2), which I’m instructed will ward off any negative ox vibes.
From below, we scoot throughout Kowloon, passing displays of peach blossom, bobbing lanterns and crimson and gold banners outdoors malls and office environment blocks, to Shatin Che Kung Temple. Named right after a Track Dynasty basic who is stated to have rid Shatin of the plague, I can scent incense and hear bells ringing prior to I see the temple’s imposing gate. Inside of, there’s a courtyard with stalls selling ornately adorned packs of incense, candles and joss paper revenue (costing any place from £7 to £350).
A peak roofed hall residences a big golden statue of the fearsome-seeking standard. “Most persons arrive here on the third day of the New Year to spin the pin wheel,” says Vida pointing to an outdated copper windmill. “To continue to keep your luck spin clockwise or to alter your luck spin anti-clockwise.” I graphic that a lot of individuals will be putting on gloves to do it this year.
There are fortune tellers at Che Kung much too, but the tour requires us on to Master Joseph at Wong Tai Sin, prior to heading to Mongkok Flower Industry. Spread all around 3 blocks, there are dozens and dozens of shops, each and every with a forest of vegetation and greenery spilling out onto the pavement. It feels like a very little Technicolor entire world amid Mongkok’s gray skyscrapers.
Vida and I walk as a result of a grove of mandarin orange trees. “In Mandarin, the pronunciation appears equivalent to the phrase for fantastic luck,” Vida tells me. There are also blessed bamboo for prosperity and occupation success, income trees for – you guessed it – and orchids for enjoy and fertility. Soon after my reading through with Master Wong, my flat now appears to be like like Kew Gardens.
Find out a lot more at discoverhongkong.com/British isles