Practically every denomination of the Christian faith, as well as Judaism, Islam and other Oriental religions are represented here, but the bulk of Hong Kong people still practice traditional forms of Chinese religion. Most Hong Kong Chinese are both Taoist and Buddhist. There are around three hundred and sixty temples throughout Hong Kong.

Taoism is based on the writings of Lao Tse and aims to put mankind in context with nature. Its philosophies are in perpetual debate and defy an in-a-nutshell explanation. Tao itself is usually translated as “The Way”.

The world best knows the Taoist yin-yang expression, in which all existence struggles infinitely to find harmony. Gods must be worshipped and spirits appeased. Specialists in feng shui or geomancers are often employed before a house is built to check that no spirits will be disturbed during the building process.

Buddhism is originally from India and is based on principles of dharma and the after life, which include spiritual and moral codes that are little known outside Hong Kong’s monk and nun sister and brotherhoods which are mainly to be found in the New Territories. Buddha’s birthday is celebrated on the eighth day of the fourth moon (he celebrated his 2,555th birthday in 2011).

Confucianism although not a religion has permeated Chinese thought and personal relationships as well as national regimes for more than two millennia. In its popular form Taoism can be said to be a religion, but it did not begin this way. Buddhism was the first all-embracing religion for the Chinese. Buddhist and Taoist worshippers do not gather in large congregations, however, funeral services are religious rituals and represent rare occasions when people need to assemble.

Church notices are posted in the Saturday edition of The South China Morning Post (SCMP) newspaper, and radio RTHK broadcast weekly ecumenical programmes.

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