Luck-seeking Chinese tourists build mound of coins atop ancient relic
Ruins of 1,000 year old pagoda now covered in cash in the pursuit of good fortune
Chinese tourists have been making news again, this time for the long-held but illogical tradition of throwing coins and banknotes at auspicious targets for luck.
The Qianjiang Evening News in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou reported on Thursday that a three metre high cultural relic, the ruins of the millennium-old Leifeng Pagoda, now looked like a “money mound” covered in a vast carpet of one-yuan coins and banknotes, tossed there by superstitious tourists from across the country.
According to the report, nearly half of all visitors to the site make offerings of coins and notes.
On a day when the News visited the site, a young man asked his girlfriend to make a wish before throwing coins. Someone with no coins even asked a stranger nearby to give him some, promising to pay him back via the WeChat social media app.
The pagoda was built in 975AD by the King of Wuyue to celebrate the birth of a son by one of his favourite concubines. In August 1924, the badly neglected structure suddenly collapsed, leaving only parts of the foundations intact.
The operator of the attraction said the site was cleaned twice a month, collecting at least 20,000 yuan each year.
The coin tossing tradition gained notoriety around the world last week when an elderly woman passenger in Shanghai was spotted tossing coins into the jet engine of China Southern Airlines Flight 380 from the boarding staircase.
When asked what on Earth she was doing, she replied that she was blessing the engines for a safe flight, unaware of the damage that loose bits metal would wreak on the engines. The flight was delayed for several hours while mechanics removed about half a dozen coins from the engine.