Man Mo Temple over Hollywood Road | Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong | It does sound all mixed up doesn’t it, when you read Man Mo Temple and the Hollywood Road ? Well it is what it is….. Indeed Hollywood Road in Hong Kong Island is the right place if you are looking either for Asian Antiques or one of the best dining spots in the city, being that the SOHO – which in Hong Kong stands for South Of Hollywood Street, is just there.
FYI pictures this time are not that great…. at least from inside the temple, and there is a very good reason why. You are NOT ALLOWED to take pictures inside the temple. I wasn’t being disrespectful, but HEY I am on a mission to show you the world, so guilty of that. BTW I love the reverse camera feature of the new iPhone 4, it is so gay!!! you know what I mean all about ME…. what other reason has the reverse camera than taking pictures of yourself ? ha ha ha …. and let’s be honest WE LOVE TO DO SO. Oh yes yes… the other use is for Facetime or Chat… who cares about that ha ha ha .
Step back into all traditions of China. For a moment feel the spiritual side of Hong Kong. The playground for those looking for quietness into this cosmopolitan city, the place where to worship. A Man Mo Temple or Man Mo Miu (traditional Chinese: 文武廟) is a temple for the worship of the civil or literature god Man Tai and the martial god Mo Tai. The two gods were popularly patronized by scholars and students seeking progress in their study or ranking in the civil examinations in the Ming and Qing dynasties.
There are serveral Man Mo Temples in Hong Kong, but the largest Man Mo Temple in Hong Kong is located at Nos. 124-126 Hollywood Road, in Sheung Wan. It was built in 1847. It is part of a complex that comprises three adjacent blocks namely Man Mo Temple, Lit Shing Temple (No. 128 Hollywood Road) and Kung So. Lit Shing Kung (列聖宫) is for the worship of all heavenly gods. Kung So (公所), to its west, was an assembly hall where community affairs and disputes were settled.In 1908, it was graded as a Grade I historic building in 1993 and it is now a declared monument.
The images of the two gods are enshrined inside the temple, which is located on Hollywood Road. You’ll find Man dressed in a green robe, holding a writing brush in his hand. Kwan Yu, dressed in red, totes a long sword. Statues of other Chinese gods are found throughout the temple, particularly ones that are important to those who are part of the Buddhist and Taoist communities.
While the Man Mo Temple is no longer used for settling disputes, believers come here for a number of other reasons. Devotees burn huge bell-shaped coils of incense that hang from the temple’s ceiling in hopes of attracting the attention of the gods. Some also believe the incense is food for the “spirits” that have gone before.
During the 1900s, it is said that locals came here to solve disputes that could not be solved by British law. The process of finding an equitable solution involved the legal system of the Qing Dynasty, which stated that both plaintiff and defendant should make a promise in the temple and write it – along with a curse or punishment – on a piece of yellow paper. They then killed a chicken, chopped off its head, let its blood drip onto the paper, and burned the paper. It was believed that because the promise was made before the gods, if the individual broke the promise they would suffer the indicated punishment. Many Chinese preferred this justice system to the British system. (who can blame them right.? I wonder if Margaret Thacher was already in power. Hmmmm no I think she is older than that.) I have to say that I stood up in a corner for almost an hour and watch a lady go through all this process, yes in the process, but of course no chicken or blood was involved. And it was fascinating to see the devotion, love and care this people have for their gods.
Insider TIP by Carlos Melia. Once you are finished with the Man Mo Temple, keep walking up on Hollywood Road to Lok Ku Road. Turn right and then right again on Upper Lascar Row Street. I found thanks to Giovanni – Les Clefs d’Or Concierge of the Mandarin Oriental, this fantastic Antique Flea Market in the middle of the street, that not many people know about. Trust me worth the visit, and get ready to bargain. Carlos Melia Luxury Travel Curator – www.carlosmelia.com
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