Sunday, September 6, 2015

Ghost Festival Rituals

Ghost Festival Rituals

Two real life encounters with ghostly beings during Ghost Festivals.

The Ghost Festival is a traditional Chinese or Taoist festival celebrated on the 15th night of the seventh lunar month. The 15th day of the seventh lunar month is called is known as “Ghost Month.” Many people believe that during that month the sector are Heaven, Hell and the Earth and restless ghosts will freely roam the earth.

Ghost Festival rituals of joss sticks, incense, paper money, prepared food, wine and tea are offered to these temporary ‘guests’. One of the main highlights of the festival is the Chinese operas, usually held on temporary bamboo stages, to appease the wandering spirits from the otherworld.

Laden with Offerings for Hungry Ghost Festival

Here are two truly terrifying stories about peoples’ actual experience during the dark month.

The first story is about a couple driving home one late night during the hungry ghost month.

Gai Loong was driving with his girlfriend, Sophie, after spending with their friends clubbing practically the whole night. They were at an isolated neighborhood and Sophie was nagging him that he was half-drunk that they should have got a lift from one of their friends or taken a taxi. Gai Loong was probably fed-up, drove even faster and he said that she was out of her mind. As they arguing they suddenly saw too late, 2 kids squatting giving offerings by the side of the road.

Offering at the Roadside

Absolutely shock, Gai Loong braked hard and brought the car screeching to an immediate halt. Still in a state of disbelief they ran from their car, to the place where the roadside offering. The items from the offerings were thrown everywhere from the accident, broken joss sticks, cups, Chinese ‘kuih’ (cakes)….. but they could not see any signs of the two kids!!!

My next story was kindly retold to me by Mrs Chan about the ladies in her neighborhood. They mostly have adult children (even grandchildren) and on the whole lead contented & happy lives. Their unofficial routine for example going for “Tai Chi” exercise, morning walks, meeting at wet market, chit-chats (gossips) etc.

Mrs Chan had a close friend, Mrs Soh, they were in a neighborhood committee which provide stage shows including Cantonese opera performances during Hungry Ghost Month. They were diehard fans of the Chinese opera shows but Mrs Soh passed away unexpectedly due to illness a few years back.

First Row at Opera Show for “guests"

Mrs Chan and some of the committee members were enjoying themselves at the opera show. They were seated in the middle of the rows when she was distracted – the 1st row of seats was supposed to be reserved for ghostly visitors but she made out from their backs there were 4 people. Highly agitated and confused, Mrs Chan was just about to stand up …. When one of the 4 people slowly turn, smiling and looked at her… was Mrs Soh!!!

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