Story of the Month - June 2016

Story of the Month - June 2016 

每月故事 - 二零一六年六月

How did temple processions, once regarded as superstitious by Hong Kong’s Chinese and British elites, become revived as a heritage and tourist attractions?

曾被香港華人和英籍精英階層視為迷信的廟會巡遊,是如何搖身一變,成為文化遺產和旅遊景點

 

 

Centre member and anthropologist Joseph (“Joe”) Bosco has been studying urban religion in Hong Kong. Temple processions associated with Chinese popular religious festivals used to be celebrated only within a local neighborhood. They were regarded as “backward” by elites and were strictly constrained by the police. Yet after the Handover in 1997, some processions have been rebranded as a heritage that represent Hong Kong’s—or even Chinese—tradition, and are funded and promoted by government agencies as tourist attractions, while their religious meaning is being downplayed.

本中心成員林舟教授是一位研究香港城市宗教的人類學家。廟會巡遊曾經只盛行於當地華人流行的宗教節日,被精英視其為「落後」,且受到警方的嚴格管控。但是在1997年主權移交後,部分巡遊被重新打造成為文化遺產,成為代表香港或甚至中國的傳統,並獲得政府部門的資助及推廣為旅遊景點,其宗教含義卻被淡化。

 

 

Through studying the changing social meanings of temple processions, Joe’s research reveals how religion is shaped by politics. What people commonly refer to as “religion”, he argues, is part of the symbolism that we use daily, and should not simply be dismissed as superstitious.

林舟通過研究廟會巡遊的社會含義變化,揭露了政治如何塑造宗教。他認為人們通常所指的「宗教」是我們日常所用象徵的一部分,不應簡單地被貶視為迷信。 

 

 

Joe Bosco ShauKeiWan184 resized

Temple procession in Shau Kei Wan celebrating the “Birthday of Tam Kung” in 2013. Photo by Joseph Bosco.

2013年的筲箕灣譚公誕廟會巡遊。攝影:林舟

 

 

Further readings:

2015 "Urban Processions: Colonial Decline and Revival as Heritage in Postcolonial Hong Kong." In Peter van der Veer, ed., Handbook of Religion and the Asian City: Aspiration and Urbanization in the Twenty-first Century, pp. 110-130. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

2015 "Chinese Popular Religion and Hong Kong Identity". Asian Anthropology 14(1): 8-20.

2016 "The Sacred in Urban Political Protests in Hong Kong". International Sociology doi:10.1177/0268580916645767