Friday, August 1, 2008

Chinese hungry ghost festival

Today i am going to write about on super nature again. Do ghost really exist?
In thai magic, yes. They believe. The chinese believe too. Today, i am going to talk about ghost and the festival about them.

Chinese has a rich background of myths, folklore, superstitions, festivals and celebrations.

On the Chinese or Lunar 7th month, the Hungry Ghost Festival is one where literally all hell breaks lose as the gates of hell will open to let out the 'hungry ghosts' to earth. Find out what needs to done to appease them!

How is the festival celebrated?
Another belief among the Chinese is that the dead return to visit their living relatives during the 7th month and thus the living family would prepare a sumptuous meal for the ‘hungry ghosts’. The Chinese feel that they have to satisfy the ghosts in order to get good fortune and luck in their lives.

During the 7th month celebrations, the Chinese offer prayers to the deceased relatives, burn joss sticks, paper money and offer food. In Singapore and Malaysia, it is a common sight to see entertaining ‘ wayang’ or Chinese Opera and concerts performed on outdoor stages in some neighborhoods. These events are always held at night and are loud affairs with singing, operas, dances all performed at super high volume. There is a belief that this loud entertainment would attract and please those wandering ghosts. The entire show may be filled with living audience but take note that the front row seats are always left empty for... you guess it, the unseen ghosts! Woe to the ignorant who take up the coveted front seats during the show!

Superstitious belief for the hungry ghost festival
An interesting superstition that the Chinese have about the festival is that it is bad to go swimming during the 7th month. They think that an evil ghost might cause you to drown in the swimming pool. In addition to
this, children are also advised to return home early and not to wander around alone at night. This belief is that the wandering ghosts may possess children. Thus, it is not surprising that swimming pools, beaches, shopping malls, cinemas, bowling alleys, parks and other public places will suffer a big dip in customers during this month. This is also a month considered not auspicious to get married, start a business, move house or even to travel. Plane, bus tickets and hotel rates tend to be at their lowest peak during this month!

Offerings to the Dead
The Chinese also do a lot of offerings to the deceased. These offerings are made by burning fake money notes, which are also known as ‘hell money’ and even paper television or radio sets. Some families also burn paper houses & cars to give to their dead relatives. The Chinese feel that these offerings reach the ghosts and help them live comfortably in their new world.

The Chinese regard the 15th day of the 7th Lunar month as an important date to give a feast to the ghosts. On this date, the family will cook a lot of dishes and offer them to the deceased. This is done to please the ghosts and also to gain good luck for the family. 15 days after the feast, the festival will be over, as the Chinese believe that the ghostswill return back to where they come from after a month of 'merry-making'.

That is.... until the next Lunar 7th month.

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