The religion of the Chinese people is inextricably linked to Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism. Ancestor worship and even animistic elements are interwoven in the beliefs of the Chinese people. Animism is a primeval belief in which it is believed that all earthly things, such as trees, animals or even stones, have their own spiritual power.
In Hong Kong there are about 600 churches, temples, monasteries and holy places. Most are very small but there are also huge complexes, such as the Buddhist Po Lin Monastery on Lantau Island, the Ten Thousand Buddhas of Sha Tin (actually 12,800 Buddha statues!) and the Taoist Wong Tai Sin temple in Kowloon.
The most popular god of the Chinese people is Tíen Hou, the god of sailors and travellers. Famous are the Chinese festivals that often have ancient religious backgrounds.
Examples are the festivities around the Chinese New Year and the world-famous dragon boat festival (Tuen Ng). The dragons stand on boats up to 30 metres long. The religious background is that during the festival, the "real" dragons in the sky are encouraged to fight; these fights are supposed to make it rain.
Hong Kong has a cosmopolitan population and the number of different religions is correspondingly large. There are about 227,000 Catholics, 225,000 Protestants, Sikhs from India, 50,000 Muslims and about 1,000 Jews from many countries. Some Jewish families have lived in Hong Kong for over a century and have played a major role in the development of the country. One such family, the Kadoories, gave a large part of their earned money to the government to support the peasantry.
Other groups include Baha'is, Hindus, Methodists, Mormons and Quakers. The Hindus are mainly migrants from India and Pakistan.
Bernstein, K. / Hong Kong
Groth, P. / Hongkong
Lyle, G. / Hong Kong
Chelsea House Publishers
Storey, R. / Hong Kong, Macau & Guangzhou
CIA - World Factbook
BBC - Country Profiles
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