This long weekend marks Ching Ming, a significant Chinese festival, but one that few tourists would notice unless they happened to see people burning offerings on the sidewalk. It is a private observance held mostly at home shrines, ancestral villages or cemeteries, as the living give gifts of food and fresh flowers to the dead, and sweep and clean their graves. You may also see stands selling paper replicas of everything from yachts and cars to mobiles and MP3 players. In modern, materialistic Hong Kong, these can be burned as offerings, too, in case your ancestor would like having a new Mercedes or Motorola in the afterlife. A traditionalist would warn you against buying one as a kitsch souvenir, though.
[Ching Ming means Clear Bright, it is also the name of the Qi Node for the next two weeks. Qi Nodes divide the solar calendar into 24- two week segments. The Western banking calendar divides the solar calendar into 4 segments (solstice/equinox).]
According to The South China Morning Post, the temple will spend H.K. $140 million, or about U.S. $18 million, on building what they say will be the largest worship hall of its kind in China, plus an LED-lit glass dome filled with Taoist entities. That sounds about as modern as burning an i-Pod offering for your late grandma.
And here is an article about a new approach to Daoism I would call "stuttering and embarrassed." Looking beyond the Chinglish writing style, and the picture of the "empty suits," the Research Association of Laozi Taoist Culture (CRALTC) looks like it was invented to kill off anything ziran, spontaneous or naturally beautiful.
China has started to invest more money and attention into Taoism after it has successfully exported Confucianism to the world by establishing hundreds of Confucian institutes and schools around the world. China.org.cn reporters witnessed the largest ever International Daodejing Forum held in Xi'an and Hong Kong last year. Daodejing, the Taoist bible, is one of the most widely published books on the planet, only second to the Christian Bible.
And then there is this event last year which I found by following the link in the above paragraph.Â (I'm speechless.)
As the prelude of the forum, a total of 13,839 citizens recited Daodejing together at Hong Kong Stadium on April 21, setting a new Guinness record for "most people reading aloud simultaneously in one location."