Anissa’s Traditions Field Note

Title: Three Extra Days of Longevity

Abstract:

Located alongside waters called Repulse Bay is a Buddhist shrine where many tourists and locals come to pay respect to the religion and Buddhist deities. Crossing the Longevity Bridge here will add three days to your life!

What traditions does the community have?

A widely practiced religion in Hong Kong is Buddhism. This religion has influenced the culture in the way people see the world and interact with one another. Here, visiting the location to pay respect is believed to bring good luck and bring a positive change to devotees.

What tradition did I learn about?

Every day, people from all over the world visit a Buddhist shrine in Repulse Bay, located along the coastal south of Hong Kong. I learned that it is a Hong Kong tradition to visit this shrine in order to pay respect to their Buddhist ancestors and deities. Most importantly, one must cross the Longevity Bridge on their visit here, as it is believed to add three days to your life.

Another tradition that one must note is that when entering the shrine, is that women must enter with their left foot and exit with their right foot. Men must do the opposite and enter with their right food and exit with their left foot.

Why does the community have this tradition?                                               

Buddhism is linked to superstitious beliefs and high respect to their ancestors. Visiting this shrine is believed to bring good luck and shown as a sign of respect to Chinese ancestors.

When one crosses The Longevity Bridge, it is believed to add three days to your life. Because no one really knows when he or she is going to die, it is a superstitious belief that doing so will add three days to your life.  There is no known background as to how this belief came about, but it is engraved on the bridge that crossing it will benefit you three extra days.

As for entering and exiting the shrine, the system of entering and exiting the shrine based on gender represents “the whole”. In Buddhism, there are many rules to follow in terms of how to interact with monks and ways of respecting a Buddhist venue. Local people will remind foreigners to make sure they enter correctly because it is a sign of respect to the Buddhist deities.

Is this tradition connected to its environment? How?

These traditions are connected to the environment because of its religious and ancestral influence.  The surrounding area has an assembly of Buddhist deities and figures such as: Buddha statues, goldfish, rams, money gods, and other Chinese icons. Chinese Buddhists believe in karma and by paying respect to their ancestors and religion, it is believed to bring good fortune.  Who else do you know (besides me right now) that has three extra days of life guaranteed?

Buddhist Shrine in Repulse Bay

Buddhist Shrine in Repulse Bay

Rams Statue

Rams Statue

Longevity Bridge

Longevity Bridge

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