Chinese Occasional Rites in Hong Kong

Marjorie Topley

Edited by Jean DeBernardi

in Cantonese Society in Hong Kong and Singapore

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9789888028146
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882206663 | DOI:
Chinese Occasional Rites in Hong Kong

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This chapter examines the role of rites performed by people on their own in the religion of the Cantonese in urban Hong Kong today. It distinguishes two kinds of individual performances: “regular” rites and “occasional” rites. Occasional rites deal with more specific problems and are performed as such problems arise. The more specific the circumstances, the more knowledge of spiritual matters may be needed. Material adjuncts are tailored more to particular needs and are sometimes “custom made” for individual needs. The chapter gives brief descriptions of some ritual materials in common use and outline some of the most popular rites in urban Hong Kong, but the chapter's main discussion is of the meaning and purpose of such ritual: what puts it “into motion” so to speak, and what it is meant to “do” for the performer.

Keywords: religion; Cantonese; Hong Kong; regular rites; occasional rites; ritual materials; popular rites

Chapter.  8112 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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