Suzanne is currently spending a quarter abroad in Hong Kong, China. She heard about these shrines from her professor who said the shrines were there for the Gods to watch over shops for their owners. She took these pictures in the area of Sham Shui Po, where there are a lot of shrines
“The one with the tree next to it was next to a security guard’s booth at Lippo Centre, in Admiralty. Best guess says that it’s to the gods of guardians, asking him/her/them to watch over them, not necessarily or pertaining only to their protection.
Second one was a couple streets off Temple Street, outside of what I think was a mechanic’s shop. You can see a couple large stacks of tires in the background, a bicycle’s front wheel and handlebar basket in front of them. From what I can gather, the characters ask for finance to be brought to their door.
It seems that there are more shrines in areas where there are lots of local shops, definitely haven’t seen any in more western areas. In my opinion, it may either be due to big name companies not wanting the shrines in front of their shops, creating a connection between the two, or maybe because religion is fading from the “more well-to-do” areas because they think they don’t need it while the owner of a non-chain store still believes that his god(s) still have power over his life.”
Often the Buddist and Toaist people of Hong Kong worship dieties and ancestors of both religions. Shrines of ancestors are usually inside the home, while shrines to gods are placed outside. Each profession has their own god, consequently, different stores have their own unique shrine to their god. And these shrines are often small, and placed directly by the entrance to a store. This makes it easy to pay homage and worship the shrine to the god while entering and leaving. By worshipping the gods, it is hoped that one will reap the benefits of the god’s help.