Friday, August 05, 2005

Hungry Ghost Festival

Today is the first day of the 7th Lunar Month, the day when it is believed that the Hell Gate opens and the wandering souls are allowed to wander on earth. As in traditional Chinese practice, it is the time to offer food and "money" for these wandering souls to use.

For the Hokkien and Teochew, today, they would put candles, joss sticks, some food and joss-papers on the road side. In the old days, the whole streets could come alive with lighted candles and filled with smoke from the burning joss-sticks and joss-papers. While not in that grand scale of yesteryears, Chinatown still finds many streets filled with candles, joss-sticks and joss-papers. Where there are constructions, this becomes even more necessary to appease the wandering spirits.

More formal rituals are also conducted. Today, there is a Taoist event at the open field by Upper Hokkien St and a Buddhist event at the open field facing Maxwell Food Centre.

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