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Hong Kong: Kau Chim and Jiaobei Blocks

Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Chin Temple in Kowloon, Sha Tin is famed for it's many answered prayers. There is an Oblation Arcade along with an area where Taoist worshipers leave offerings and perform Kau Chim.

Kau Chim is the practice of fortune-telling through Lottery Poem sticks or Jiaobei. A worshiper will seek solutions to questions or prayers before an altar at a Taoist Temple.

The prediction begins with the Chim bucket containing the flat sticks. After someone has finished their devotions, they purify the cylinder by rotating it around an incense burner three times. They kneel in prayer, asking their question to the deity, either aloud or by whispering. Shaking the cylinder, which is usually tipped slightly downward, results in at least one stick leaving the cylinder and falling to the floor. In most cases, if multiple sticks leave the cylinder, those fortunes do not count and must be shaken again. Each stick, with its designated number, represents one answer.

When a single stick falls out, the number will correspond to one of the hundred written oracles with an answer on it. In most cases, to confirm the validity of the answer given by the deity, the person will pick up and toss two Jiaobei blocks.

Each block is round on one side and flat on the other. A successful answer requires one flat and one round side to be facing up. Much emphasis is placed on denial when both sides flat are tossed; some legends say when this happens, the deities are laughing at the worshipper. They have the option to ask for a fortune again until a successful answer can be made.

Following a successful fortune, further interpretation may still be needed. Answers can be interpreted by a temple priest or volunteers, or can be self-interpreted by the worshipper. Often, an offering is made before the question is asked to carry good favour from the higher powers. These offerings typically consist of incense, fresh fruits, cakes, or monetary donations.

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