Learn your Fortune at the Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple Hong Kong
In-between the high rises of Hong Kong are many temples. The Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple is one of the most popular. I understand it received 2 million visitors during Chinese New Year. It is a Taoist temple dedicated to the God Wong Tai Sin and has a strong reputation for those seeking to have their fortunes told.
The temple is most frequented, not by local Hong Kong residents but by visiting mainland Chinese who come by the busload.
Many come to pray and offer incense bought from the many stalls surrounding the temple complex. Many also came to have their fortunes told by the 78 soothsayers who also have their businesses nearby.
I chatted to Long Shanshan through her friend who had travelled with her from Shenzhen in Guangdong. where Shanshan works as a product planner. She told me she had been asking a question about her hopes of finding love. "You have to keep the question firmly in your mind as you shake the sticks until one of the sticks jumps out onto the ground'. Then you write down the number on the stick and take it latter to the soothsayer you choose.
I asked one of the soothsayers about the process. Not the one pictured but another who after talking to me asked me not to use their photograph or his name.
My informant told me that they had trained for 5 to 10 years with an older practitioner. They have a number of methodologies at their disposal and, as well as the sticks, can use birthdays or counters. The sticks each have a story attached to it. I drew one as an example which referred to a story about a minister who found their workplace too ugly and as a result wanted to retire and enjoy family life. I was told that if Shanshan had brought this stick number they might interpret the story to mean that she is not fully enthusiastic yet in her search for love. Some soothsayers consult with spirits but my unnamed informant believed his training and theories were more reliable than spirits who ‘knew only about the past’.