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Burn Incense at Po Lin Monastery in Hong Kong

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.
Burning I at Man Mo TempleBurning Incense at Man Mo TempleBurning Incense at Man Mo Temple

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.
Burning Incense at Po Lin Monastery

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?

I distributed my burning incense throughout all the acceptable containers, hoping to spread out the wishes.
Incense at Po Lin MonasteryIncense at Po Lin MonasteryAnnette White at Po Lin Monastery
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. 

Have you ever burned incense at a Temple or Monastery?


  1. It's been 16 years since I've been to SE Asia, and yet, still I can't smell incense without thinking of that trip… 

    • I might have to burn some incense at home to keep the Asia memory alive :)

  2. This looks amazing – such gorgeous colors!  I would love to be a part of an incense-burning ceremony; what a fantastic opportunity you had.  For me, incense always brings back memories of traveling around British Columbia as a child, particularly some of the little towns on Long Island.

    • It surprises me that incense is popular in British Columbia. I would have never thought that.

  3. This is interesting as I saw a similar ceremony while visiting my brother in Singapore. I can totally relate to Peter having to go outside. I remember the air being so thick with incense that I became desperate for a breath of fresh air. Great pictures!

    • It was really thick at Man Mo Temple, but a lot better at some of the other ones we went to. Peter liked those ones a lot better ;)


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