Tin Hau: The God of the sea

Tin Hau: The God of the sea

There are many different temples in Hong Kong. They belong to different religions and Gods. One temple that is often forgotten is the Tin Hau Temple in Yau Ma Tei/Jordan. Even though the temple is big, takes up space in the middle of the busy Kowloon and is located beside the thoroughfare Nathan Road, it's not the temple first in mind. Many people walk past it every day and might not even notice the temple is there or might not know the history behind it. 

The Tin Hau God is one of the most important Gods in Hong Kong. To understand this, the history of the city needs to be reviewed. Hong Kong was mainly a city that depended on fishing before it became like it is today. Fishermen therefore depended on having good luck to earn a living. They prayed to the Tin Hau God to get full fishing nets and calm seas. As Hong Kong mainly depended on fishing, the Tin Hau God was important for the population of Hong Kong and temples dedicated for the Tin Hau God can be found in many places in the city. 

The Tin Hau temple in Yau Ma Tei is the only Tin Hau temple in the Yau Tsim Mong district and is therefore special of its kind in the district. The temple was built in 1864. There is a public square in front of the temple and the famous Temple Street Market is located close to the temple. Today the temple is listed as a declared monument in Hong Kong (2020), and has long been listed as a historical building. The temple has special features, for example the nine dragon wall which is the back of the temple complex. The temple is guarded by the lions and Divine Bells are found inside the temple. There are several different blocks of the temple that serve different Gods and teaching, however the greatest God of the temple is Tin Hau. 

The temple has seen a huge development of its surroundings and the change of culture in Hong Kong. It symbolises not only the cultural development but the physical change of the city. Once close to the shore it's clear that the city has changed and will keep changing. However, the Tin Hau temple will remain.