What do the Papers Say?

Ceremony appears to play a very large role in the lives of those in Chinatown. This Colonist article from 1876 describes the opening of a Chinese Temple (possibly located on the west side of Government Street between Fisgard and what is now Pandora) and suggests that the reporter had a rather short visit!

Daily British Colonist 23 January 1876 p. 3

CHINESE TEMPLE OF WORSHIP--A Chinese Joss house or temple of worship has been erected on Government just beyond Cormorant street, and was dedicated Friday night, and yesterday.  Joss means god or idol, and the over-devout children of the Celestial Kingdom have set up two gods and a goddess in the new establishment.  Entering the door we discerned a band composed of two tom-toms, a bugle and a pair of cymbals, each played upon by a devotee, albeit the bugler appeared to be suffering from shortness of breath and at every two or three notes stopped to inflate his lungs with a fresh supply of the oxygen.  In a sort of cabinet, and raised about five feet above the floor, sat the three deities.  The central figure wore a black beard and moustache and the face was profusely covered with red ochre.  On the head sat a gilt crown, and the figure itself was habited in robes of gorgeous hue.  The figure on the left had represented a pretty woman, crowned and dressed like the male figure.  On the right hand side a venerable looking personage with grey beard and moustache and highly dressed but without a crown on the head, looked down on the scene with an expression of placid self-satisfaction.  Behind the cabinet were burning colored wax candles, rushes, etc., and in front of the gods were arranged dishes filled with fruits of various kinds for the refreshment of their high mightinesses.  Crowds of Chinamen of every rank and condition filled the place and the din of instruments, and the scent of opium and foul clothes was so great that the few whites who ventured in were soon glad to beat a retreat.