The Happy Valley
A History and Tour of the Hong Kong Cemetery
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: Hong Kong University Press, HKU
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1 Grave Concerns
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To most Hong Kong residents, ‘Happy Valley’ is synonymous with horse-racing. This is not surprising since every Wednesday evening during the racing season, tens of thousands of punters flock to the racetrack to indulge in some serious gambling. Anyone in the vicinity on race nights cannot fail to notice the glare of the floodlights or hear the roars of the crowd reverberating around...
2 Origins of the Cemetery Garden
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The quotation at the head of this chapter describes the macabre scenes and disgraceful conditions of Paris graveyards in the late 1700s that caused a widespread public outcry. The problem was not unique to Paris. Gross overcrowding of urban churchyards throughout Europe was common due...
3 The Rise and Fall of the Hong Kong Cemetery
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In the early nineteenth century, European cemetery gardens tended to bear a resemblance to country estate landscapes with naturalistic copses of woodland, serpentine paths and sweeping areas of lawn. From the mid-nineteenth century onwards, many cemeteries adopted a more ‘Loudonesque’ approach of simple and efficient grid layouts. However, the differences between the two styles of ...
4 Self-guided Tour
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The tour of the Hong Kong Cemetery has been designed as two loops. The lowland loop is suitable for wheelchair access and can be comfortably done in about one hour. The extended tour includes the upland loop which has a number of staircases and steep sections of path. The extended tour, taken at an easy pace...
5 Last Words
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The ensemble of four cemeteries in Happy Valley is a very significant historic cultural landscape. Individually, the cemeteries are important to the cultural identity of different minority religions: Muslim, Catholic, Protestant and Parsee. Collectively, they are a microcosm of Hong Kong’s cultural and religious diversity...
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With Hong Kong being a coastal city, it is understandable that a large number of sailors are buried in the Hong Kong Cemetery and memorials should bear seafaring symbols such as anchors or capstans (revolving drums used in raising or lowering anchors). The anchor is a symbol of hope and faithfulness. The key Biblical reference for this is Hebrews 6:19: ‘Which hope we have as an anchor...
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Page Count: 144
Publication Year: 2010