Goddess of the Sea, Tin Hau

The temple at Yau Ma Tei, honoring Tin Hau (a.k.a Mazu), is one of many temples in Hong Kong dedicated to the Sea Goddess. The temple, which was once located along the coastline, now sits amidst the urban landscape of Kowloon due to reclamation projects.

While there are multiple versions of the legend, all stories agree that Tin Hau was once a real girl born during the Song Dynasty to the Lin family and given the name Mo Niang meaning “silent girl”.  She was the only daughter of a fishing family, and one day during a horrible storm she “fell asleep” / went into a trance where she envisioned the men of her family at sea drowning.  In this state she was able to guide some of her family to safety; however, her mother finding Mo Niang asleep attempted to wake her, breaking Mo Niang’s trance resulting in the loss of the rest of her family.  The family members that survived returned home reporting a miracle had occurred.

To this day Tin Hau is revered by those whose lives are governed by the sea.


Tin Hau Temple at Yau Ma Tei



Incense hangs from the temples ceiling.



Mazu (Tin Hau) sits in the middle of the temple.

For a more in-depth look into Lin Mo Niang’s story check out this post by Heathen Chinese: Mazu: The Story of Lin Mo Niang.

Or for more full variations of the legend: Mazu , Chinese Goddess of the SeaMazu – The Goddess of the SeaChinese Folktales

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