Monday, August 8, 2011
If you are a Halloween Jetsetter, you’ll wish you were in South China this week. Have you heard of the Hungry Ghost Festival? It’s something I would love to see in person someday.
This festival (also celebrated in Taiwan, Singapore, and Malaysia) is celebrated in the 7th month of the Chinese calendar. This year the festival is August 14. Hungry Ghost Festival is similar to the original Halloween in Europe. Both are holidays when the veil between earth and the afterlife are thin and the dead return. Chinese pay respect to their dead ancestors and give gifts to unknown ghosts who could bring them bad luck. Prayers and food are offered. Incense sticks (joss sticks) and paper money (called hell money) is burned for the dead. Paper representations of offerings like cars and tvs can also burned in offering.
At the end of the festival, some people float lotus lantern boats on rivers to help show the souls back to hell. That must be beautiful.
If you’d like to learn more, check out this link.
You can spend the day after STJ is updated eating Chinese food while doing a decoupage hell money craft project! Lucky people near Northampton, MA can visit Hungry Ghost Bread. I totally need a bag from that bakery!