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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Hong Kong Series at CantoneseClass101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind holidays and observances in Hong Kong. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 21. Tin Hau’s Birthday, or 天后誕 in Cantonese.
Every year on the 23rd day of the 3rd month of the lunar calendar, you will find that many festivities and celebrations are held in Hong Kong. These are for Tin Hau's Birthday or 天后誕. In 2016, Tin Hau’s Birthday is on April 29, and in 2017, it's April 19.
Now, before we get into more detail, I've got a question for you-
Although Tin Hau is the patron saint of seafarers, many Tin Hau temples are located in inland areas. Do you know why?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later, so keep listening!
In the early days, Hong Kong used to be a fishing port, or 漁港, so most of the gods people worshipped were ocean-related. Tin Hau, who is the patron saint of the seafarers, is one of them. It was said that Tin Hau was a lady born in 960 CE, who always helped others and was committed to charity. It’s known that she also had the ability to predict changes in the weather, and using her ability, she saved countless lives in maritime accidents. Coastal residents and fishermen regarded her as a patron saint, and built temples or 廟, to worship her and pray for good weather and good catches.
There are now more than 70 Temple for Tin Hau in different districts of Hong Kong. The oldest one is located in the area called Stanley or 赤柱 and it’s the most famous one. On Tin Hau's birthday, as many as 40,000 worshippers go to the temple in Stanley to pray. In the New Territories regions of Hong Kong, you can find a lot of celebrations being held on this day, including parades, dragon and lion dances, and Cantonese operas, or 粵劇 in Cantonese, which are all very lively and spectacular.
The very first Tin Hau festival parade was held as early as 1962. On this day, six big groups of worshippers from a town called 元朗 were marching towards the Tin Hau temple. During the march, some of the lion dance performers did the "Picking the Greens" ceremony, 採青, along the way. Since it was the first day, there was no fixed route, and as it was not predictable, this march caused serious traffic congestion in the area. In order to solve the problem, police and the organizers agreed to set a parade route, and since then, all marches and parades follow this route.
In 2012, the Hong Kong Tourism Board held a Tin Hau boat parade. It allowed the public to see a flotilla led by symbolic Chinese sailboats, followed by forty flag-adorned fishing boats sailing through Victoria Harbour towards the Tin Hau Temple in Stanley.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Although Tin Hau is the patron saint of seafarers, many Tin Hau temples are located in inland areas. Do you know why?
Many of the Tin Hau temples were originally built close to the seaside. But due to constant land reclamation, or 填海 in Cantonese, the temples' locations gradually became inland areas, even if they were located on the coast line in the past.
How was this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Is there a festival related to the sea in your country?
Leave us a comment at CantoneseClass101.com
We'll see you next time!

3 Comments

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😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

CantoneseClass101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
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Is there a festival related to the sea in your country?

CantoneseClass101.com Verified
Thursday at 06:09 PM
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Hello robert groulx,


You are very welcome. 😇

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Good luck with your language studies.


Kind regards,

利凡特

Team CantoneseClass101.com

robert groulx
Monday at 10:25 PM
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thanks for the lesson


my favorite phrase is 粵劇


we do not celebrate this holiday


robert