快活谷 happy valley

由跑馬地電車總站步行開來,經過養和醫院沿黃泥涌道轉往皇后大道東,一段路程如不停步五至十分鐘便可完成。

過去兩個星期六,天氣晴朗,我都走上這段路,卻每次用上數小時,頂著花白陽光,探訪了兩座超過兩世紀的墳場,也跟其他兩座連續的墓園打個招呼。

古老墳場對我有股玄妙的引力。非中式的墓碑肅穆中糅合美感甚至詩意。墓碑短短碑文蘊藏戰爭病疫情感傷痛死者履歷遺愛牽掛,一些無名墓碑更撩人感懷,我不禁會送上祝福但願他們在另世安息。

to the mortals, happy valley is a place of fun and enjoyment, horse racing, good food and drinks, nice living environment.

yet locating opposite the impressive state-of-the-art racing course and alongside the upscale residential area of the island are the four historic cemeteries of the city. lying side-by-side are the living (or in essence the dead) proofs of true harmony of religions and cultures, and of the next worlds. They also echo the ultimate learning which human never really learns afterall we are all equal.

墓園都是幽靜渺無人跡,只有蟲鳥鳴聲在林木花草中迴響。

跑馬地這段路是香港歷史和宗教的瑰寶。開首有印度廟(hindu temple),結束在錫克教廟。中間祆教墳場、香港墳場、天主教墳場、回教墳場並肩安守著逝去的幽靈和現世的忙亂。

上網搜集資料,打開無底的寶盒,串聯時地人文化歷史可以無盡伸延。

if you walk along wong nai chung road from the tram terminal, after the hong kong sanatorium and hospital, there is the parsee cemetery.

祆教是波斯人/伊朗人的宗教,始創三千五百多年前,非常悠久歷史。有稱之為拜火教,但也有反對此說,指信徒對火有敬意但不是拜火。據bbc網站引述紐約時報所說在2006年信奉的人全球為數十九萬左右。

門外「此園內係巴士國人所建安葬本國之人…… 建立在……一八五二年」的標示。

before this trip i wasn’t even aware of this religion. according to bbc religion, the parsis is a group under the religion of zoroastrianism. zoroastrianism is one of the world’s oldest monotheistic religions. it was founded by the prophet zoroaster in ancient iran approximately 3500 years ago.

parsees migrated from india to hong kong were very influential in the british colony then. they played a significant role in the establishment and the success of the city. parsees established the star ferry and the ruttonjee hospital, and one of the original founders of the university of hong kong and a renowned philanthropist sir hormusjee naorojee mody is also a parsee.

香港地產家麼地爵士及立法局議員的律敦治家族均葬於此墳場。

next to the parsee cemetery is the hong kong cemetery. its olden name was the colonial cemetery. the place is full of western and protestant influence but not limited to that. death to chinese is mournful and serious. chinese graveyards embrace hauntingly regretness and burdened with the mission of teaching the living, therefore there is always a sense of intimidation and frightfulness. the colonial cemetery carries a poetic atmosphere springing from a different interpretation and reception of death. it is serene and soulful because of its history and the serene greenery.

the oldest tomb here dated 1841, a year before hong kong being colonized.

香港墳場,英文舊名殖民地墳場,是一座花園式公眾墓園,有超過 170年歷史。墓園以西式為主,滿載歷史、充滿美感的墓誌,加上古綠葱鬱,讓我流連往返,拜讀墓文概歎生死的牽連,呼吸與聆聽萬籟甯謐,縱然墓園外面便是高橋公路,感受却是一幕靈氣將外世的塵囂隔絕。

開展這墓園探索,其實源于追尋七月颱風對園內古木的傷害。不過一踏進這獨特的場景,神魂入竅。剛歎賞雞蛋花樹影在路上交織曼妙光網,放眼一墓碑,上面刻著的生死日期只相隔一日,一個由新生父母為亡兒立下的悲記;無力也不忍用攝影機拍入鏡頭。

往園地高地進發,在一個高聳的碑柱旁一處空處旁幾朵俏白的花朵提醒了生命處處。

然後走不久,看到一地齊整排列的戰爭犧牲者的墓碑;每次看到死者的年歲:十九、二十多,油然的哀働加上不明。

香港墳場旁就是天主教聖彌額爾墳場。有說現址是1848年由灣仔聖佛蘭士街遷來。老一輩香港人對門外的對聯最有感悟「今夕吾軀歸故土,他朝君體也相同」。

再走過一點還有回教墳場。這兩個墳場尚有待照時間溜走發掘。

the last two saturdays i spent hours in the above mentioned two beautiful and tranquail grounds and left with no enerty to explore the other two ancient cemeteries – st michael’s catholic cemetery and the muslim cemetery.

just want to make a note, the name of happy valley is actually a common reference to cemeteries in victorian times; this place is more than modern pleasure of luxury and speculation. i would like to spend more time to learn and appreciate the history and heritage of the district and my hometown.

跑馬地另一名字是快活谷,兩名字並不互通前者道出此地的大地標,後者則有超渡之意,祝願埋于此谷的逝者早入極樂。

參考 reference:

  • 祆教墳場(zoroastrian cemetery),又名波斯墳場(parsee cemetery),是香港一個私營墳場,位於香港島跑馬地黃泥涌道近養和醫院一帶,於1852年落成,為波斯(今伊朗)祆教(即拜火教)信徒在香港下葬的地方。門外立有「此園內係巴士國人所建安葬本國之人」的標示(「巴士國」即「波斯」)。《維基百科
  • 「香港墳場百年樹木」《樹木谷
  •  “visiting the famous in hong kong’s cemeteries” cnngo.com feb 2011
  • bbc religion
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