On monday evening, I saw the flickering orange flames from the burning of hell money and joss-sticks. As I walked back home, I noticed a red and white tent and a platform being erected.
By tuesday night, I could hear the loud singing of the getai. And I knew then it was the Hungry Ghost Festival.
The Taoist belives that during the month of the Hungry Ghost Festival, the gates of hell opens up and the spirits of the dead goes back to earth to seek food and visit their living relatives.
As there isnt much food and entertainment in hell, Taoists will burn paper articles such as paper clothes and leave plates of buns and fruits for their deceased loved ones.
A getai is a stage performance, meant to entertain the spirits during the Hungry Ghost Festival. These performance are loud, with jokes and singing. The entertainers would typically wear garish outfits.
Traditionally, instead of getais, I remember that the Chinese Opera was a very popular event during my childhood days of the 80’s. It seems to be dying art form now though. I can hardly find one anymore.
On wednesday night after my night class, I managed to catch a getai performance. Here is a short clip :
Sidenote: Yesterday, a respected colleague passed away on an accident in Kuala Lumpur on his way back to Singapore. Today, Juli told me that two of our ex-schoolmates passed away recently. Gone too soon.
I know that we are mortals. But it still shocks me. I cannot imagine how I will cope when my loved ones pass on.