Ever since I could remember, my family home has always had an altar for Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy. When I was a child, I would always wear a pendant of her on a red string, for my mother and grandmother said that the Goddess would protect me from harm. The second my family stepped foot out of China, they had always believed that Guanyin would be looking out for them, always carrying a pendant of Guanyin. They also pride themselves in being from Zhoushan, where Putuoshan (a sacred mountain dedicated to Guanyin) is located. I remember a couple of years back, I visited Putuoshan with my family. It was a scorching hot day and I could barely keep my eyes open. It was a seemingly endless walk upwards. However, the close to the top we got, the more visible the gigantic statue of Guanyin was. When we reached the top, the first thing we saw was a large open space with many people around the statue praying. The further into the area we walked, the more shrines we saw. The whole area was peaceful and smelled of incenses. I had never really thought much of why my parents always had me wear the pendant when I was younger, nor had I really thought much of why it even mattered. Upon visiting Putuoshan and witnessing the many people bowing down and praying, my parents included, I began to realize the importance of the pendant and the significance it carries. It is a reminder of my family’s beliefs and how they put all their trust in a single pendant when they left China for America.
– Lisha Han