Worship the Oriental Mars

There is always a man with long black beard and red face standing in a rosewood altar cabinet of every single Chinese restaurant. The man, who you might regard as the god of kitchen, is called Guan Yu, (People call him Guan Gong or Emperor Guan more frequently), and is actually a highly decorated military general during China's Warring States Period (220 AD - 280 AD).

Being one of the best known Chinese historical figures throughout East Asia, Guan Yu's true life stories have largely given way to semi-fictional ones, mostly found in the historical novel "Romance of the Three Kingdoms" or passed down the generations as folklore, in which his deeds and moral qualities have been much emphasized. 

Guan Gong is typically depicted as a large man with a long black beard. He is either standing or seated at a desk. His countenance is always stern, and his face is red. Guan Gong always holds his long-handled, double-edged broadsword, which is called Guan Dao and is said to weigh 82 jin (about 41 kilograms).

Guan Yu was regarded as a strong and able military officer who possessed an outstanding degree of loyalty. Guan Yu is popularly worshipped among the Pan Chinese society as an indigenous Chinese deity, a bodhisattva in Buddhism and a guardian deity in Taoism. He is also held in high esteem in Confucianism. Throughout many succeeding centuries people continued to believe in Guan Yu's Heavenly promotions. The number of Temples in pre-revolutionary China dedicated to Guan Yu was second only to those dedicated to Guan Yin.

In the West, Guan Yu is sometimes called the Taoist God of War, probably because he is one of the most well-known military generals in Chinese history. Guan Yu as a god does not necessarily bless those who go to battle but rather anyone who observes the code of brotherhood and righteousness.

In Hong Kong, a shrine for Guan Yu is located in each police station. Ironically, members of the triad worship him too. As for people in other fields like restaurant, Guan Yu is believed to be the guardian for the well-off and safety of their business.

A Guan Yu Statue on a Stage