“BUDDHA IS ALWAYS IN YOUR HEART”: ALTARS AND GOOD-LUCK SYMBOLS IN FRANKFURT

“Actually, it doesn’t matter where you are and how you believe – Buddha is always in your heart.”
Wiparat Sukatorn

What do a Portuguese bakery, a Thai massage studio and a Japanese restaurant in Frankfurt have in common? And why are they part of the exhibition “WORLDS IN MOTION. Narrating Migration”?

Their proprietors come from various countries, and offer services and products from other parts of the world to their Frankfurt customers. The massage provided by Mrs Wiparat Sukatorn in the Bai Boon massage studio, located in the district of Bockenheim, boasts a tradition stretching back 2,500 years in Thailand, its country of origin. In Bäckerei Bela, in the district of Preungesheim, José Oliveira is doing a roaring trade in German and Portuguese baked. Sushi master Takayuki Tamura runs a team that serves a select range of freshly prepared Japanese dishes in the restaurant Sakura in downtown Frankfurt.

Together with Mainz filmmaker Felix Schwarz, America curator Mona Suhrbier visited the three businesses and shot three film portraits. Because in addition to their products and services, all three business owners integrate individually designed altars and good-luck symbols into their business premises. Madonna, Japanese good-luck symbols made out of salt or Buddha figure: These highly symbolic objects possess a deep meaning for their owners, their beliefs and culture. The proprietors share their personal stories with their Frankfurt customers, who are notable for their heterogeneity and diversity, an in the interviews that are on display in WORLDS IN MOTION. At the same time, altars and good-luck symbols help their owners to establish roots for themselves and their businesses in Frankfurt, thereby ensuring their long-term success.

Takayuki Tamura states in an interview about the Morijio, Japanese good-luck symbols made out of salt which he positions at the entrance of his restaurant: “For a restaurant, always being full of guests is the greatest good fortune. And since salt attracts the guests, it brings us good fortune. With this symbol our restaurant follows an ancient tradition.”

And for José Oliveira, whose altar is displayed in the exhibition, Christian symbols are an important part of his bakery: “I love my altar in the bakery. It offers protection and helps those who believe.”

Now it’s your turn: Where do you encounter good-luck symbols and altars in your everyday life? Which ones are arrayed at your home? Look around in your favourite bakery, kiosk or in your living room. Then post a photo until 15th December on Facebook or Instagram and tag @weltkulturen.museum!

Before Christmas, we will put together the entries’ best of and are excited to see the variety of the photos!