It is quite common to walk through the more traditional streets of Hong Kong and both see and smell the smoke of incense sticks as well as pass by dragon stone carved statues outside of shops and temples. Quite often at night, one also hears the sound of fireworks. All three things are widely and historically believed in China to ward off evil spirits. To further mark the significance of the superstition against evil, all major holidays, such as the Harvest Moon Festival, Chinese New Year and the Dragon Boat Festival, all market the celebration to protect from the evil spirit.
Unlike in the West, Asian dragons are regarded as wholesome and worthy of life. Many commerce shops and all temples have a carved dragon outside of the establishment/place of worship to bring in good luck. If you walk into any temple there are over 100 sticks burning, both as a method to ward off negative spirits and as an offering to god, as the smoke rises to the heavens.
As Chinese New Year approaches, many people believe that fireworks are meant to scare away the evil spirit and misfortunes at the start of the year, and keep the year free from evil. A parade takes place and all participants must through firecrackers at the feet of a dragon with the aim to keep them awake during the parade. The blowing up of fire-crackers is intended to scare off evil.
January 03, 2011
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