Temple carnival to cost HK$10m
Wong Tai Sin temple will spend HK$10 million on a carnival to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic, a temple official said yesterday.
Kwok Yiu-wai - director of Sik Sik Yuen, the charity that administers the temple - said the September 26-27 carnival would feature a two-hour Taoist ritual, and performances by artists from various provinces on the mainland. It would be the first of its kind hosted by the temple.
'The performances will include tai chi, calligraphy, traditional Chinese dances, tea lore and so on,' Mr Kwok said. 'About 35 stalls will be set up, providing different kinds of performances and food related to traditional Chinese customs such as traditional facial treatment, and giving out traditional Chinese candies.'
The temple plans to give out 60,000 tickets for people to visit the carnival, 30,000 for each day. Admission is free.
'Tickets will be given to non-governmental organisations, centres for the elderly and our working partners, who will then distribute them to members of the public,' Mr Kwok said. 'A certain number of tickets will also be distributed by our temple on a first-come, first-served basis. We expect to give out tickets around the end of August or early September.'
In connection with the event, Chinese longevity noodles will be distributed to elderly people who were born in 1949 or earlier.
'After studying government figures on the population of this age group, we have prepared about 50,000 sets of noodles, which will be given to the elderly aged 60 or above,' he said. 'To avoid chaos, the noodles will be given out at elderly centres.'
The temple is now busy with preparations for the carnival and with its expansion: the construction of an underground, 660 square metre Huen Sun Hall - or Lord of the Year and Age Hall - is under way. It is expected to be open to the public at the end of next year.
'For those who cannot come [to the carnival or the temple], they can pray for luck and good health by using our online service,' Mr Kwok said. 'Our website, which provides online prayer services, has been visited 37,600 times since its launch in December.'
The website attracts locals as well as Chinese and foreigners from all over the world.
'We print out the prayers on a special red paper, bless the papers in a Taoist ceremony and then burn the printed prayers as a way of posting the messages to the Wong Tai Sin Master [the god of the temple] - who then sends out blessings to the people who sent in the messages,' he said. The busiest time for such messages is during the Lunar New Year.