Tin Hau Festival

tin hau temple

Tin Hau Festival (天后誕) is one of the most widely celebrated Chinese festivals in Hong Kong. It is on the 23rd day of the 3rd month in the Lunar Calendar, which is usually in April or May in the Gregorian calendar. People gather together to celebrate the Birthday of Tin Hau. This year, the festival falls on 19 April 2017.

If you have been to Hong Kong, you may have seen Chinese Temple before. But you may not know that the largest number of temples in Hong Kong is Tin Hau Temple. There are over 70 Tin Hau Temples across Hong Kong. It is not difficult to find one nearby your accommodation.

Tin Hau Goddess and Mazu belief

Tin Hau (天后), “Heaven Queen” literally, named Lin Mo(林默) was born on Meizhou Island, part of Fujian’s Putian County, in the Song Dynasty (AD960-1279). Her name, Mo, means “silent” in Chinese. It was said that she did not cry when she was born and hence the name. However, she had a special ability to predict the weather since her childhood, and she always rescued people when shipwrecks happened. She continued to save fishermen and sea merchants after her death according to legend.

Therefore, coastal villagers started to build temples to worship her so as to pray for good weather and harvest. She was deified since then and has become the patron saint of fishermen and all those who sail on the sea. Moreover, she was recognized by various imperial emperors. She was awarded the title, “Heaven Princess” in the Yuan Dynasty, and then “Heaven Queen” in the Qing Dynasty.

Tin Hau Goddess is worshipped under various names and titles, another common one is Mazu, meaning maternal ancestry or ancestor’s mother. The Mazu belief spread from its cradleland, Fujian, to Guangdong and other coastal regions, Taiwan, Ryukyu, Japan and Southeast Asia.

Tin Hau Festival Celebrations in Hong Kong

Tin Hau Temple Hong Kong can be found everywhere. During the festival, you can enjoy parades, dragon and lion dances, Chinese opera performances held on temporary bamboo stages and more. Large scale celebrations can be found in Joss House Bay in Sai Kung, Kowloon City, Yuen Long, Tai Po, Tuen Mun and outlying islands. Some villages and temples celebrate the festival on different dates. Just follow the music of lion and dragon dances to watch the processions.

You may also simply pay a visit to the nearest Tin Hau Temple, for example, Tin Hau Temple in Causeway Bay (MTR Tin Hau Station, east of Victoria Park), the one in Repulse Bay, the one in Stanley Market or the one in Yau Ma Tei near Temple Street night market.

tin hau festival dragon dances

Details of some Tin Hau Festival Celebrations in Hong Kong are as follow,

Tai Po

  • Date: 16 April 2017 (Sunday)
  • Time: 1:30 – 4:30 pm
  • Destination: Tin Hau Temple, Ting Kok Road
  • How to get there: MTR Tai Wo Station (East Rail Line)
  • Nearby Attraction: Lam Tsuen Wishing Tree

Kowloon City

  • Date: 18 April 2017 (Tuesday)
  • Time: 10 am – 12 noon
  • Starting and finishing point: Argyle Street Playground
  • How to get there:
    • Take Bus 5 or 5C at Tsim Sha Tsui Bus Terminal next to Star Ferry, get off at Argyle Street Playground opposite to Sung Wong Toi;
    • MTR Lok Fu Station, walk for about 15 minutes or take a taxi to Kowloon City
  • Nearby Attraction: Kowloon Walled City Park

Yuen Long

  • Date: 19 April 2017 (Wednesday)
  • Time: 9 am – 12 noon
  • Destination: Tai Shu Ha Tin Hau Temple
  • How to get there: MTR Yuen Long Station (West Rail Line)
  • Nearby Attraction: Hong Kong Wetland Park

Tuen Mun

  • Date: 19 April 2017 (Wednesday)
  • Time: 9 am – 6pm
  • Destination: Hau Kok Tin Hau Temple
  • How to get there: MTR Tuen Mun Station (West Rail Line)
  • Nearby Attraction: Hong Kong Wetland Park

Joss House Bay Tin Hau Temple Celebrations

Located in Clear Water Bay Peninsula, Sai Kung, Joss House Bay Tin Hau Temple was built in 1266 in the Song Dynasty. It is Hong Kong’s oldest temple of its kind and is a Grade 1 historical building in Hong Kong. Every year, as many as 50,000 prayers go there to pay homage to Tin Hau.

How to get there:

  • Take a ferry from the North Point Ferry Pier on Hong Kong Island. Check the details here.
  • MTR Po Lam Station, Exit A2, take minibus 16 (Po Lam to Po Toi O) to The Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club. Get off, follow the signs, and then walk down the steps for about 15 minutes.

Where are you going to celebrate Tin Hau Festival 2017? Please feel free to leave us comments or contact us if you have any questions.

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