Man Mo Temple 文武廟
War & Literature
Man means ‘civil’ and Mo ‘military’. Indeed, Man Mo Temple is dedicated to two very different gods. Man Cheong is the God of literature while Mo refers to Kwan Yu, the God of war. The images of the two gods are enshrined inside the temple: you'll see Man Cheong dressed in a red robe, holding a writing brush in his hand and Kwan Yu dressed in green, toting a long warrior sword.
During the 1900s, locals came here to solve disputes that could not be solved by British law. In a process overseen by the Man Mo Temple Committee, the objective was to find an equitable solution for both parties using the legal system of the Qing Dynasty. This system stated that both plaintiff and defendant should make a promise in the temple and write it, along with a curse or punishment, on a piece of yellow paper. Both parties then killed a chicken, chopped off its head, let its blood drip onto the paper, and burned the paper. It was believed that because the promise was made before the gods, if the individual broke the promise they would suffer the indicated punishment. Many Chinese preferred this justice system to the British system.
As a de-facto successor of the Man Mo Temple Committee, the directors of the nearby Tung Wah hospital today still come to the Man Mo temple to acknowledge their responsibility for the welfare of the Chinese community. today still come to the Man Mo temple to acknowledge their responsibility for the welfare of the Chinese community.
Incense, fortune & good exam results
These days Man Mo Temple is no longer used for settling disputes, but it still is one of Hong Kong’s oldest (1847), most popular and most photogenic temples. At Chinese New Year it gets especially crowded with parents bringing their children to worship Man for some heavenly assistance in their school exams.
Have a look inside!
Go in, immerse yourself in the smoky ambiance and thick smell and have your fortune told under the huge slow burning incense coils that hang from the temple's ceiling. Don’t forget to attach a note with your desires and hopes to attract the attention of the god. For only HK$100 one of these giant incense spirals carries your wish...
All the way in the back of the temple, you’ll find two very old sedan chairs, dating back as far as 1862. These antique chairs are only used once a year at the occasion of the Autumn festival to carry the priceless Man Cheong and Mo Tai statues through the streets of Sheung Wan.