Friday, August 12, 2011

Chinese Hungry Ghost Festival Celebration (Chinese Halloween) in Asia

After staying in the United States for 2 years, I begin to miss the nightlife where I could meet my friends and have late supper at mamat stalls (also known as hawker stalls which operate 24 hours or open until wee hours in the morning) or coming home late after late night shopping in Malaysia. However, this month in August 2011, it's a particular month which it's a huge celebration by the Chinese communities in Asia region. It's called, the Ghost Day (Chinese Halloween) which falls on the seventh month of the  Chinese lunar calendar each year. The big celebration of the Hungry Ghost festival falls on the 15th night of the seventh month of Chinese lunar calendar. The Chinese communities in Malaysia and Singapore still adopt the traditional and customs practice during the Ghost Month.


During the Ghost Month, it's believed that the gates of hell are opened and the spirits/ghosts are free to roam around the earth to seek for food and entertainment. In order to satisfy their needs and desire, the family members and the other Chinese communities offer prayers, burn the hell currency notes and other offering in the form of papers such as houses, cars, mobile phones, clothing, servants, televisions, DVDs etc. in order to please the ghosts, ancestors and deceased relatives. In return, the Chinese communities and family members hope that the spirits/ghosts will return to the hell path and won't follow the humans back home after the offering service.

 I really miss this festival since I'm moving here. When I was young, I followed my parents to the Chinese temple around our neighbourhood. During the month of Ghost day, most of the Chinese temples offer the praying service and organise some night activities such as opera / live concert singing on the stage as well as setting up the projector screen on the street for free movies viewing until late at nights. To us, it's like a gathering with our neighbours and friends at nights.


Watch these videos in order to understand the meaning of this unique festival:


Hungry Ghost Festival Celebration in Malaysia:










Hungry Ghost Festival Celebration in Singapore:





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