Best Hong Kong exorcism: Beating 'petty people' under Canal Road
The practice of "beating petty people" -- or "da siu yan" -- is a unique southern Chinese custom for exorcising any real or imagined demons.
Usually carried out by old ladies who are the de facto sorceresses of Hong Kong, the ceremony entails using a shoe to repeatedly hit a paper effigy that represents your nemesis -- the petty person.
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The feisty old ladies are given HK$50 for their trouble. That's not a whole lot for giving you peace of mind. But for them, it's a higher calling.
"This isn't a job that anyone can take on," says practitioner Siu Jeh (笑姐). "You have to be commissioned by the gods. They have to give you the power, then you can complete the petty people beating ceremony."
During the Waking of the Insects festival on the second day of the second lunar month, the beating petty people ceremony is particularly popular and believers swarm to the sorceresses enclave under the bridge on Canal Road East.
Beat your petty nemesis under the Canal Road Flyover in Wanchai; the sorceresses can be found there seven days a week from 9 a.m.-6 p.m.