Monkey God Festival – a tribute to mischievous and playful god

Hong Kong is inspiring. The eye popping architecture and sleek design of their buildings and places or rest, work or play are inspiring to see. The wonder of the mind and its capability are ever so apparent in Hong Kong. Irrespective of the trendy shopping, buzzing nightlife and indulgent cuisine, Hong Kong is very much aware of its roots and culture. One would find a host of festivals and celebrations taking place throughout the year, very much as it has been the practice for centuries before.

Some of the festival and events in Hong Kong to take place this year is Pixar’s 25 year anniversary celebration, Italy 2011 a celebration of food, clothes, music and film from the graceful nation, the Chinese Opera Festival, the International Arts Carnival, Lan Kwai Fong Beer Fest, and many other consumer, sports and concerts.

For the tourist looking to understand the undertones of the culture of Hong Kong will find the Chinese Lunar New Year, Lantern Festival, Hung Shing Festival, Seven Sisters Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, Mid-Autumn Festival, Hungry Ghost Festival, Ching Ming Festival and the Monkey God Festival to be delightful.

The Monkey God first made an appearance in a novel that dates back to the Ming Dynasty, which was from (1386 to 1644) by the name of Pilgrim to the West. The storyline goes that the Monkey God was sent out from Taoist Heaven and redeemed his status by gaining Buddhist immortality. He escorted the Tang Xuan Zang on a pilgrimage that led him to obtaining the learning’s of Lord Buddha. During the previous festivals, the Monkey God is said to have possessed a number of monks to do bizarre acts such as climb stairs made of knives and walk on hot coal without injuring themselves. This was said to be in reflection of the challenges the Monkey God had to go through when he descended from Heaven and in his journey to India.

Today, the festival is celebrated either in the month of October or September by burning incense and much regalia. There is a temple dedicated to the Monkey God in Kowloon, which can be found on Pao Tat Estate.

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