The third day of Chinese New Year has since come and gone. Known as “chec hao”, this day is considered a likely time to get into an argument, therefore it is not a good day for visiting family or having guests.
Instead, people head to Che Kung temple or the New Year horse races in hopes of receiving good fortune. So I grabbed my camera and headed out to Sha Tin’s Che Kung Miu with 100,000 other Hong Kongers.
There was a huge line of people waiting to push their way into the temple grounds. While waiting, there were stands to buy incense and New Year pinwheels so we picked out our (hopefully) prosperous pinwheel and continued to wait for our turn to enter.
Pinwheels are revered during Chinese New Year as they symbolize turning obstacles into opportunities– “turning one’s luck around”.
Finally we reached the entrance of Che Kung Miu where everyone was trying to push through the small entrance.
Once inside it was again hard to move around from all the crowds. People were holding their pinwheels high while trying to get in line to have their incense lit.
Workers opened the newly purchased packs of incense, took out 3 sticks and threw the rest away, before lighting them and handing them back. After getting your incense lit it was time to dodge the falling ashes and smoke to get in the line for entering the main temple.
Inside the temple it was time to make your wishes for the New Year, while bowing, as you placed your offering in front of the giant golden Che Kung statue.
It was especially crowded when I went because it was considered that days “auspicious time slot” for visiting and making offerings.
There were many fortunetellers inside the temples. After giving your offering, many people got on their knees at the altar to shake kau chim sticks (similar to omikuji in Japan) to receive their New Year’s fortune.
Back outside there were even more pinwheels and people fighting their way through the crowds. Eventually the incense was starting to burn our eyes so we knew it was time to take our leave.
The whole area was rerouted and directed by police because of all the people. Even as the auspicious time ended, there were still masses of people trying to make their way to pay their respects at Che Kung Miu.
Although Che Kung Miu was crowded, it was worth the visit. I think I can say that arguments were successfully avoided during “chec hao” and hopefully my offerings will help for a prosperous New Year.
It seems that even though this is “Year of the Snake”, there is a lot of negativity in store for us snakes this year!
Want to visit Che Kung Miu?
How to get there: MTR Che Kung Temple Station Exit B