‘Money more important than love’: video of worshippers queuing outside God of Fortune temple in China but shunning marriage deity highlights shifting youth trend

‘Money more important than love’: video of worshippers queuing outside God of Fortune temple in China but shunning marriage deity highlights shifting youth trend
  • Young Chinese people flock to worship the God of Fortune while shunning the God of Marriage, a viral video has revealed on mainland social media
  • The trend coincides with the decline in China’s marriage rate in recent years due to the high costs of weddings and raising children

While worshipping gods at temples has become one of the latest trends among Chinese youth to escape the pressures of daily life, a recent viral video of a long queue outside a temple revealed there is one god they prefer above all others.

The video taken by a young woman at the Baotong Temple in central China’s Hubei province on March 5 showed dozens of people lining up in front of the God of Fortune’s hall. In contrast, she said few people were visiting the nearby hall of the God of Marriage although the temple is famous for bringing people luck in marriage.

The woman, surnamed Zhang, said she found the scene funny: “Making money is more important for us young people.”

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The trend coincides with a decline in China’s marriage rate in recent years, which is welcomed by some young people. For many the high costs of marriage and raising a family and the increasing difficulty of getting divorced are putting them off tying the knot.

Last September, a Weibo user, known as @Shipeilewo, posted comparison photos of wishing plates inside Beijing’s Xiangshan Temple. In a similar scene, there were far more plates hanging from the “promising career” rack than from the “eternal love” and “early birth of a healthy baby” racks.

Zhang’s observation resonated on Chinese social media, where many who saw the video responded with humorous comments.

“They are right to the point. Marriage is managed by the God of Fortune now,” one person said.

Another added: “People have finally figured out that it’s OK to live without love but not without money.”

Others shared their own temple experiences, with one person commenting: “Contemporary young Chinese choose to burn joss sticks rather than burning bright at work.”

Chinese temples have been experiencing a renaissance in recent years as increasing numbers of young visitors come to pray for good fortune and seek inner peace in the face of increasing stress and uncertainty in contemporary life.

For example, on the Chinese social media platform Xiaohongshu, the hashtag #worshippingbuddha has nearly 20 million views.

Many people online shared advice on worshipping gods, such as the correct posture and steps, and which temples are best for certain wishes in order to help newcomers achieve the best results in their temple visits.

The tips also remind worshippers to give ID card numbers in their prayers so the gods do not bless the wrong person.

Some Chinese temples have responded to the enthusiasm of digital natives by setting up official social media accounts and selling limited-edition items like amulets.

In the comments section of Zhang’s video, a 24-year-old woman said she had taken a picture of a temple’s offertory QR code and scanned it to donate money whenever something did not go her way in life.

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This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (www.scmp.com), the leading news media reporting on China and Asia.

Copyright (c) 2023. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

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