Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Just as the Americans have the Halloween, the Chinese have their version of a ghost festival too. Growing up in a Christian family, I totally have no idea how is the Hungry Ghost Festival celebrated as I don't see people in Tawau celebrates the release of spirits from purgatory like here. I'm sure you've seen the entertaining Chinese opera or latest Chinese pop hits performed on outdoor stages around some neighborhoods at night with super high volume. At first (few years ago), I didn't know that the red seats in front of the stage were special reserve for ghosts, not for non-ghost-audiences!

During this month, the 7th month of the Lunar Year, the gates of hell are opened to let out the hungry ghosts who then wander to seek food on earth until the 30th day of the month. They would visit their families, and as such, the families would usually prepare sumptuous feasts for the deceased. The Chinese feel that they have to satisfy the imprisoned and hungry ghosts in order to get good fortune and luck in their lives.

According to Chinese-culture.net, these are the superstitious beliefs for the hungry ghost festival:

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!

Well, do you follow these beliefs?

16 comments

Iris said... @ 6/8/08 3:55 PM

I never realize there's always
red seats in front of the stage. Little did i know they were actually special reserve for ghosts..:P

xin said... @ 6/8/08 5:36 PM

i try not to hang out late at night during this month if possible...as a chinese, knowing all the taboos, still feel scared.

molly said... @ 6/8/08 6:45 PM

I do offering outside my house every year. I dont know whether all the stories are real but I believe and thought no harm doing it which might just help the lost and wandering souls.

Monica said... @ 6/8/08 8:00 PM

Iris,
Now you know, right? hehe..

Xin,
hmmm.. if you don't bother them, they'll leave you alone ;-)

Molly,
yeah, I saw some families did that here...

Liza said... @ 6/8/08 8:13 PM

i'm not surprised of the long list of beliefs. my mom is 50% chinese and im surrounded by a lot of chinese friends, so this is nothing new to me ;)

Market Martini said... @ 6/8/08 8:52 PM

great blog

Lianny said... @ 6/8/08 10:32 PM

That's why my grandmother is busy going to temple morning & night for chanting!

Monica said... @ 6/8/08 11:12 PM

Liza,
yes, very long list in fact :-D

Market Martini,
Thank you!!! ;-)

Lianny,
You mean everyday?

cc said... @ 7/8/08 12:08 AM

Well, better safe then sorry right!

U.Lee said... @ 7/8/08 8:34 AM

Hi Monica, being here we have lost touch with all these beliefs...don't know good or bad, ha ha.
What to do? When in Rome..., ha ha. Lee.

Helmey said... @ 8/8/08 4:08 AM

what if ghosts were like zombies and ate people...that would be bad

Nick Phillips said... @ 8/8/08 9:26 AM

the first tell tale signs of it being the Ghost month for me is seeing my neighbour burn stuff by the road junctions and normally during this time I stay home more at nights. Who knows, maybe like Helmy says, the ghosts just might decide to eat people ... LOL!

Monica said... @ 8/8/08 11:04 AM

cc,
Right! :-D

U.Lee,
hahaha...got it!

Helmey,
Hello! Thanks for dropping by ;-)
zombies? err...I'll load up my dad's shotgun..LOL

Nick,
No, "they" just wanna eat "chicks".. hahaha...

Jacky Chung said... @ 10/8/08 3:23 PM

I didn't realized it. Everyday I still going home late. I think we should not believe it but just be careful when we are outside. When comes to this kind of "spirit", religion faith i svery important. :)

Nightwing said... @ 10/8/08 10:16 PM

It is better to be safe then sorry...so during this month will try not to stay out late.

Monica said... @ 10/8/08 11:24 PM

Jacky & Nightwing,
yeah, whether it's ghost month or not, just be careful ;-)

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