There was a lot of burning incense wafting through the streets of Hong Kong. And I wasn’t sure why. Not only were the fragrant sticks seen sporadically on the stoops of businesses, but when we visited the Man Mo Temple a layer of smoke filled the room. Coiled incense hung from the ceiling, as well as random incense burning throughout the room. Peter didn’t last more than three minutes inside before he needed the relief of fresh air.
Burning incense is done by worshippers as an offering with the belief that it attracts attention from the Gods or, in some cases, is food for the spirits that have passed prior.
Immediately after learning the significance of burning incense, I wanted to make some incense wishes too. Unfortunately, we were never near Man Mo Temple again.
Luckily, there was a second chance.
While visiting Tian Tan, Big Buddha, on Lantau Island we spotted smoke in the air, burning incense was within the immediate vicinity. We followed the cloud to Po Lin Monastery where worshippers were waving their enormous joss sticks making well wishes.
This opportunity at Po Lin Monastery to make an incense offering of my own would absolutely not be passed on.
It was purely a bonus that it would be done outdoors, where there would still be plenty of room to breath.
We purchased a bundle of incense at a nearby booth for 20 HKD ($2.50 USD) and divided the bunch amongst the two of us. Was sharing one bunch bad luck?
Now I can’t tell you what my wishes were, you know the rule. But, I can say they involve family, friends and an airplane.