Friday, 30 August 2013

Hungry Ghost Festival

Last night we went looking for Ghosts....well ok perhaps not... but we did pop up to the Geylang area where there was a marquee celebrating the Chinese month long Hungry Ghost Festival or Ghost month. This year it runs from August 7 - September 4. This festival falls on the 7th lunar month in the Chinese calendar. Whilst we were away for the first 2 weeks of the month and hubby is travelling for the last week, we really only had last night to investigate until next year.

The Chinese pay their respects to the dead during this festival. At the this time the gates of hell are opened allowing the spirits to enter freely into our world. Altars and bins are set up and can be seen along the curbs and in front of homes where paper offerings eg money are burnt alongside incense sticks and offerings of food such as oranges.

There is a whole raft of "donts" during this month and here are just a few

Dont leave washing outside over night in case a spirit wears it and then passes bad luck onto the next wearer.

Dont wear black

Dont stay out late at night incase a spirit follows you home

Dont disturb joss sticks, offerings as these are put out to appease the spirits

Don't get married this month

Don't start a business

Don't move house this month

Dont go swimming

Don't visit sick people or attend a funeral


Dont leave main doors to house open overnight

Dont wear high heels

And the list goes on.............................

During this month operas, auctions, comedies, dancing and singing will be put on to entertain the spirits. However although all are welcome to come and watch DONT sit in the front seats as these are reserved for the spirits! If you do you may become possessed.

These festivities are all across Singapore however they are more concentrated in Chinatown, Redhill and Geylang. Geylang is the nearest to us and where we visited last night.

We are really fortunate to live close to both Chinese and Moslem areas, during July we were able to experience the month long Ramadam festival and this month right next door (literally across the road) the Hungry Ghost Festival. What will be next month? With Singapore being so multicultural we can expect something new at each turn. Many of these festivals we have either only heard of, if at all, and certainly never experienced or understood.

This was outside a shop in Chinatown last Sunday. It appears that the whole family have set up offerings outside the shop and were praying.

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