Villain Hitting, Causeway Bay
March 5 was the festival of Jingzhe, or the day of “Insects Awakening”. Effectively, it’s the first day of Spring in the lunar calendar, signaling that the weather is getting warmer, and hence the insects are awakening. It’s also the main day for a strange Hong Kong folk festival called villain hitting. The main location for this ritual is under a flyover in the main shopping district.
Locals gather to take part in a type of folk sorcery used to curse one’s enemies. The client writes the name of the ‘villain’ on a sheet of paper (which is usually adorned with illustrations of human bodies). This paper is then beaten with a shoe by the villain hitter (usually an old lady). The beaten paper is then placed inside a paper tiger and burnt. Steeped in numerous superstitious rituals, demand for villain hitting remains strong.
Several people I spoke to had queued for 5 hours to visit one of the leading villain hitters. They had been coming to the same woman for 3 or 4 years and felt she brought them good luck. They commented that nowadays there was no need to name a villain but that people would write their own name on the paper to dispel bad luck. Average cost (per person blessed or cursed) was HK$75 to HK$100.
From Jingzhe, Villain Hitting 2017