Thursday, September 24, 2009

Hungry Ghost Month!

Have you ever heard of "hungry ghost"... well here in Singapore there is a whole month that is called "the hungry ghost month" and the "hungry ghost festival" takes place....

My friend Jenn here in Singapore wrote about it on her blog and I wanted to share... I am very thankful that I do not believe in this but I find it interesting when I find out why other cultures do the things that they do...

From Jenn:

One of the festivals that has been going on in Singapore is the Hungry Ghost Festival. It occurs in the 7th lunar month of the Chinese calender. I kept seeing signs around the stores, packets being sold, and tents being erected around our neighborhood and wanted to know more about what was going on. One of the first things I did was buy an extra small packet of joss paper in the store. I felt a bit strange buying it since I'm not Chinese or into ancestor worship, but I was curious.In the packet I found this (there was a lot more, but this is a sampling):

I knew that people burned these things so their ancestors would get them, but I didn't know what each thing represented. So, I asked a Singaporean friend of mine for some insight on what the paper meant and the reasons behind the ritual.Basically during the 7th lunar month the boundaries between hell and the living on earth are removed. This allows the ghosts of the ancestors to walk among the living. It also allows the living to "replenish" their living expenses for a year. It is believed that hell is like earth and that the ancestors need all the basic necessities that we do. Living relatives burn the paper which allows their ancestors to get whatever is on the paper.
If you look at the picture, the large paper has pictures of clothes, TVs, shoes, etc. Most of the other paper represents money. My friend taught me how to fold up the paper (the silver one on the bottom left) correctly. Her family would write the name of their ancestor on the paper and the date of their death (I think) so it would get to the right person (ghost?). She said that she would do this for stacks and stacks of paper since the more you burn the more your ancestors get. (I hope I got all that right).
The paper and incense are burned in places like this:

I found out the the tents that were being erected put on shows for the ghosts. The first two rows of chairs are left empty so the ghosts have a place to sit. (good know so if I ever go to a show, I won't sit on a ghost.) At the end of the month, the ghosts go back to hell with all of their new possessions.Their are couple other festivals coming up The Mid-Autumn/Lantern Festival a Chinese festival and Deepavali Hindu festival.
Thanks Jenn for your help in explaining this... I have personally seen alot of people burning these papers and it pains me to see that there hopes for their deceased loved ones lie in their hands (and there act of serving) (no disrespect to them who practice this or their beliefs just a personal thought here)... I am so thankful that my God is in control of the loved ones that have passed before me... that I can give Him all the glory for taking good care of them and they don't have to rely on me (bc I am sure I would fail them)... thank you Jesus.


Lindsay Countryman said...

Love your Christian focus and input. Miss you much, my friend! Been thinking about you a lot lately. Hope all is well. Love you. :)

Jones Family said...

Thanks! That was very interesting. I guess for some, it's very relieving to know there's another power in charge of providing for your loved ones, while for others, it's comforting to feel like you still have the ability to be in control and to give to those you've lost. I can't help but think that if I honestly believe that one month a year I could provide for my grandfathers, I'd give beyond give that month for they gave to me for so long, and I was too young to truly give back.
So interesting!!!! Thanks again for sharing.


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