Hungry Ghost Festival

As I walked back home from my night class, there were many people by the roadside lighting up joss sticks and burning of paper.

The hungry ghost festival is here again.

The Chinese Buddhists Taoists believe that during this month, the gates of hell opens up and the spirits of the dead goes back to earth to seek food and visit their living relatives.

There’s not much to eat in hell. Thus on this month, you will see plates of buns, cakes and fruits left by the roadside. You will also see people burning articles, like hell money, even paper version of television and shirts as they believe that these articles will materialize for their deceased loved ones.

Its was rather somber atmosphere but at the same time, eerily peaceful as the wind gently caressed my face.

Will I still be remembered when I am gone?

11 Replies to “Hungry Ghost Festival”

  1. sometimes not BY the roadside, some ON the roadside itself. jeez some ppl nvr give thoughts on the people walking on these paths

    most never even use the bins provided

    of course u’ll be remembered, why not. family and frens will. as for blog frens, well why not also

    uncle sha

  2. yeah sometimes im pretty sure i wont be missed. ๐Ÿ˜› i lead such an insignificant life hehehehe.

    and im always afraid of stepping on the offerings. wait i kena targeted by scary things. >.<

  3. Youll be remembered as the person who always teased me, along. >:(

  4. Marina, you got it wrong. Its a chinese tradition practiced mostly by taoists, not buddhists. Anyway, expect this year’s HGF to be longer than usual. I heardfrom my dad that its 2 month long this year…

  5. Myztika : Nah, you’re not insignificant ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m sure you will be remembered ๐Ÿ™‚

    Doee : When did I do that?

    Xed : Oh, my mistake then! Yes, it’ll be two months this year, but so far, no one has told me why it was so.

  6. I don’t understand this hungry ghost festival. The gates of hell open? So people reward the souls of the damned?

    What about spirits that come back from heaven? Do you celebrate that?

    (I am not being rude, honest. I am just ignorant of this cultural festival and wonder why the souls are coming back from hell and why this is celebrated rather than feared?)

    please let me know at or I will try to come back here to see if you’ve responded.

    Thanks for listening!

  7. Erm … erm … erm … I’m not Taoist, and neither am I Chinese, so I can only retell from what people tell me and the things I see. Um … I dont know about the spirits that come from heaven. And I dont really think rewarding the soul of the dammed, more in rememberance and care for their loved ones that has passed on.(Xed, help me out here!)

    I’ll see if I can ask a more knowledgable person in the meantime ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Well, it is believed that everyone goes straight to hell for all the sins committed when they were alive. The ones (or saints)who has never committed a single sin in their lives supposedly becomes deities in heaven. Once the spirits have completed their ‘sentence’ in hell, they’ll be reincarnated into the mortal world again (no guarantees that you’ll come back as a human). Nonetheless, the 7th lunar month is a break for the nether world. Not only the tortured spirits get to come back to Earth, the ‘guards’ of hell come out for a ‘vacation’ as well. It is during this time, the chinese burn offerings for their ancestors. The chinese temples would organise activites to give offerings to the ‘guards’ and god of the underworld as well as to those wandering spirits who have no living relatives on Earth. Those ‘dinners’ and ‘getais’ (Chinese operas or mini-concerts) are held for 2 purposes, to entertain the spirits and guards as well as raise money for the needy.

    But yar, Marina got it right, the chinese are merely paying their respects for the dead and the ‘minions’ from hell. Its also kind of like thanksgiving, we give thanks for being alive and help out those who are less fortunate. There’s actually more to this ‘festival’ but I’ll only confuse you more.

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