The Three Star Gods

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A 10-storey hotel near Beijing, China, built in the form of -- and to the honour of -- the three Taoist Star Gods, Fu, Lu, and Shou

The Three Star Gods of Taoism form a trinity of stellar Immortals. Each represents a singular astronomical object. They are Shou (Canopus or Alpha Carinae), Lu (Ursa Major or the Big Dipper), and Fu (the planet Jupiter). Originating within Han Chinese ethnic culture, the Three Star Gods were first grouped together as a trio of Taoist deities during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 CE). In Mandarin Chinese, the Three Star Gods are known as the San Xing ("Three Stars") and in Cantonese Chinese they are Sam Sing, which also transliterates to Korean as Samsung, the name of a large Korean manufacturing company.

The Three Star Gods represent happiness, wealth, and longevity. Fu, at the right, holds a scroll, and brings joy; he may also carry a dwarf, or a baby. Lu, at the center, often holds a gold ingot or a mushroom scepter ; he symbolizes prosperity. Shou, at the left, holds a peach, a walking staff, and a gourd filled with elixir, representing a long and healthy life. When not portrayed in human form, the Star Gods can be symbolized as a Bat, a Deer, and a Peach respectively. Many depictions of the trinity are accompanied by two lines of ideograms which translate to "May your happiness be as immense as the East Sea, and may you live as long as the Zhongnan Mountains!"

Statues of the Star Gods are typically displayed on a high table, in front of a solid wall, in the dining room, living room, or office space. They are not prayed to or given offerings, but may be revered and respected with a glass of water and an orange on Chinese Lunar New Year, and the 15th day of the 1st, 7th, and 10th lunar months.

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