Crawling under a wooden horse for luck in Saigon pagoda

By Quynh Tran   February 18, 2021 | 09:46 am GMT+7
Following the Lunar New Year holiday, many Saigonese are seeking luck at Ong Pagoda in District 5 by crouching beneath a red wooden horse.
Ong Pagoda, also known as Quan De Shrine or Nghia An Assembly Hall located at 676-678 Nguyen Trai Street, Ward 11, District 5 was built on a 4,000-square-meter plot of land by Chinese immigrants in the 19th century. Situated to the west of Saigon River, the Cholon quarter is famed as the biggest Chinatown in the world, boasting a rich Hoa (or Chinese descendent) heritage. The Pagoda, dedicated to red-faced General Quan Cong (Guan Yu), typically worshipped in Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism as an eminent figure in the Three Kingdoms legend and China’s ancient civil war, also houses his horse, Red Hare, believed to bring good luck.

Ong Pagoda, also known as Quan De Shrine or Nghia An Assembly Hall at 676-678 Nguyen Trai Street, was built on a 4,000-square-meter plot of land by Chinese immigrants in the 19th century.
The pagoda, dedicated to red-faced General Quan Cong (Guan Yu), typically worshipped in Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism as an eminent figure in the Three Kingdoms legend and China’s ancient civil war, also houses his horse, Red Hare, believed to bring good luck.

After making an offering and praying, visitors usually crawl under Red Hare once or thrice hoping for a smooth start to the new year.

After making an offering and praying, visitors usually crawl under Red Hare once or thrice hoping for a smooth start to the new year.

A devotee rings a bell attached to Red Hare’s neck. Ringing a bell in Buddhism is believed to bring luck and help to dispel evil spirits.

A devotee rings a bell attached to Red Hare’s neck. Ringing a bell in Buddhism is believed to bring luck and help to dispel evil spirits.

Some visitors prefer to touch the auspicious horse and Quan Cong statue in the main hall as a nice gesture at the start of the year. My family and I visit Ong Pagoda each year to pray for good fortune and health for the family, Luu My Linh from District 10 said while directing her son towards Red Hare.

Some visitors prefer to touch the auspicious horse and Quan Cong statue in the main hall as a nice gesture at the start of the year.
"My family and I visit Ong Pagoda each year to pray for good fortune and health for the family," Luu My Linh from District 10 said while directing her son towards Red Hare.

Quan Cong is enshrined in the central hall surrounded by decorations and golden colored parallel sentences in sophisticated design. The pagoda was a former meeting hall of Trieu Chau (Chaozhou) and He (Hakka) migrants from southern China. Similar to other religious structures of the Chinese, the pagoda bears an overall square design with a front yard, an incense house, a main hall and assembly halls on the wings of altars and sky-wells.

Quan Cong is enshrined in the central hall surrounded by decorations and golden colored parallel sentences in sophisticated design.
The pagoda was a former meeting hall of Trieu Chau (Chaozhou) and He (Hakka) migrants from southern China. Similar to other religious structures of the Chinese, the pagoda bears an overall square design with a front yard, an incense house, a main hall and assembly halls on the wings of altars and sky-wells.

The practice of visiting temples and shrines at the beginning of the year is popular in Vietnam. This year due to the pandemic, all visitors are required to wear masks, wash their hands and distance themselves from each other. Burning more than three incense sticks is not encouraged and planting them in the main hall is not allowed either.

The practice of visiting pagodas and temples at the beginning of the year is popular in Vietnam. This year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, all visitors are required to wear masks, wash their hands and distance themselves from each other. Burning more than three incense sticks is not encouraged and planting them in the main hall is not allowed either.

Many people come here to draw fortune sticks.

Many people come here to draw fortune sticks.

The pagoda has typical Chinese features, including the arrangement of statues and reliefs to its ornate ceramic tiles, unicorns and red painted wooden beams. Lines of statues in numerous sizes and types line both sides of the roof. Each statue is a portrait of a mythical character like: a carp turning into a dragon, Jade Maiden and Golden Boy. The annual ceremony in commemoration of Protector Quan Cong (Quan De) is held on the 24th of the sixth lunar month and regarded as the most important event at Ong Pagoda. In 1993, the pagoda with its stunning ornate interior was recognized as a national architectural relic by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

The pagoda has typical Chinese features, including the arrangement of statues and reliefs to its ornate ceramic tiles, unicorns and red painted wooden beams.
Statues in numerous sizes and types line both sides of the roof. Each statue is a portrait of a mythical character like a carp turning into a dragon, Jade Maiden and Golden Boy.
The annual ceremony in commemoration of Protector Quan Cong (Quan De) is held on the 24th of the sixth lunar month and regarded as the most important event at Ong Pagoda.
In 1993, the pagoda with its stunning ornate interior was recognized as a national-level artistic relic of architecture by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

 
 
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