Tin Hau Festival

Tin Hau Festival

23rd day of third lunar month
This birthday festival in Hong Kong celebrates Tin Hau, queen of Heaven and goddess of the sea. Also known as Tien-hou or Matsu, she is one of the most popular deities in Hong Kong; there are about 24 Tin Hau temples throughout the territory, and fishermen often have shrines to her on their boats. Her story dates back many centuries. It is said that she was born with mystical powers in a fishing village in Fukien Province, and that as a young girl she saved her two brothers from drowning during a storm. Today she is revered for her ability to calm the waves and to guarantee bountiful catches, and for her protection from shipwrecks and sickness.
The festivities include parades, performances of Chinese opera, and the sailing of hundreds of junks and sampans, decked out with colorful streamers, through Hong Kong's waterways to the temples. The temple in Joss House Bay is especially known for its festival, which attracts thousands of fisherfolk. The original temple was built southwest of the present temple in 1012 by two brothers who said their lives were saved by the statue of Tin Hau that they clutched when they were shipwrecked. A typhoon destroyed that temple, and descendants of the brothers built another one on the present site in 1266.
See also Matsu, Birthday of
CONTACTS:
Hong Kong Tourism Board
115 E. 54th St., 2nd Fl.
New York, NY 10022
212-421-3382; fax: 212-421-8428
www.discoverhongkong.com
(c)
Mentioned in ?
References in periodicals archive ?
PRINTS from Coventry's Nancy Upshall inspired by Hong Kong and the Tin Hau Festival at Yuen Long is showing at Heartlands Hospital in Birmingham.