Local Festivals Around the Year
\ \ \ AA BB
Recently Visited

Three Mountain Kings Festival

  • 25th of the 2nd month of the Lunar Calendar

    Most residents of Hong Kong migrated from the Mainland, and some even introduced the deities and beliefs from their ancestral home. The Three Mountain Kings are one of them. Currently about 6 temples in Hong Kong enshrine the Three Mountain Kings, with the Three Mountain Kings Temple at Ping Shek of Ngau Chi Wan enjoying the longest history. The Three Mountain King’s Festival on 25th of the 2nd Lunar Month attracts many members of the community to attend the god worshipping festival. A small bamboo-shed theatre is built outside the temple with 4 days of performances to entertain both men and deity.

  • Three Mountains and Kings

    Who are the Three Mountain Kings? The legends are many, but one of the more common stories goes like this: They were the three generals serving under Yang Jian, Emperor Wen of Sui Dynasty. They were named Lian Qinghua, Zhao Zhuzheng, and Qiao Huiwei, and were sworn brothers. Because of their many battle achievements, they were worshipped after death. In Song Dynasty, these three generals appeared as apparitions in Chao Zhou and helped the Emperor of Song Dynasty beat his enemies (there were different versions as to which Emperor it was). When the Emperor tried to thank them, they were disappeared; only three mountains were visible in the distance. The Emperor believed that they were incarnates of the Mountain Gods, and as such gave them the title “The Three Mountain Kings”. The three mountains were Du Mountain, Ming Mountain and Jin Mountain of Raoping County of Chao Zhou.

    The Hakkas were the first one who to bring this belief to Hong Kong from Chaozhou. They built a temple in Ngau Chi Wan Village in around the 18th Century, which enshrined only one of the kings (Rumour has it that it was the “Third King”). The temple was visited and worshipped by the communities of different origins nearby, and are still popular among believers today.

  • Ceremonies of the festival

    The temple used to be the gathering site for 13 villages in Kowloon. It is now independently managed by the Ngau Chi Wan Village. On 23rd to 26th of February each year, the Three Mountain Kings Temple Committee hires Cantonese opera troupes to perform god-worshipping plays lasting 4 nights and 3 days. Because of space constraints, the theatre can only be built at the open area beside the temple instead of facing directly the deities in the temple. A small shrine is therefore built on top of the audience stand upon which the statue of the “Third King” is placed. Incense offerings have to be kept throughout the performance in the shrine just as in the temple, to indicate reverence.

  • At 12 noon on the day of festival, the president of Three Mountain Kings Temple Committee, together with all committee members, offers incense and offerings to the deities, and chants invocations according to tradition. The invocation praises the gods as “Kings that command eternal respect” who “guards the people against evil”. It is apparent that the believers see the Three Mountain Kings as guardians.

  • After the ceremony, the members of the opera troupe enter the temple to perform three short regular plays for the gods, including “Birthday Greetings by the Eight Immortals” (《八仙賀壽》) , “Promotion in the Court” (《跳加官》) and “The Heavenly Maiden Offering a Son” (《天姬送子》), symbolizing blessings of good fortune, plentiful offspring and longevity. A senior committee member then casts divination blocks for each of the member, and uses the number of times that a sheng-bei (one block facing upwards, one facing downwards) is obtained to decide the candidate for the president and vice-president of the upcoming year. This method of election carries a more religious overtone than simple mutual voting.

  • [视频库视频: 130017a511f.mp4]
  • Bringing the neighbourhood together

    As the older generation passes on, the Three Mountain Kings Festival becomes less boisterous, and the Floral Tribute activities have faded out. But many residents of Ngau Chi Wan still come to offer incense and watch the God-worshipping plays. Even those that have moved out of the community would come back to worship the gods and gather with their family and friends. On the evening of the festival, some 30 tables were set in the open area behind the temple (with head and last tables), and chefs are hired to prepare on site a feast that the community would all enjoy. Given the space restrictions, many believers are unable to procure a seat, and for a time the banquet took the location of a restaurant. But the atmosphere was less rich than that in the vicinity of a temple.