Top Superstition Beliefs in the Ghost Festival

 

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Prayer food on the alter by peachpurple

 

Ghost Festival which is the 7th month of the Chinese lunar calendar falls in the month of August yearly.

This is one of the well respected festival that all Chinese descendants strongly believed that Ghost Festival should not be criticized or ridiculed.

It is believed that the hungry ghost ( ghost or spirit from the dead ) are released from the Gates of Hell during this time of the year.

For generations, Chinese families believed that hungry ghosts are wandering spirits that had encounter :

  • unjustified deaths ( accidents/ mishaps/ sacrifices ),
  • vengeance
  •  the deceased body wasn’t given a proper burial ritual or funeral
  • sudden deaths due to unexpected accidents
  • When the Gates of Hell are open, these hungry ghosts started to roam ( fly or whatever ) on our planet earth.

During this time, it is crucial and important for living humans to be careful because the spirits or ghost are hunting down for living humans to replace them, something like possessing into the body. Lots of superstition beliefs are practiced and obeyed religiously.

Although we had seen such thing happens in the movies but in reality, this superstitions did happened to the unfortunate people.

Here are the Don’ts that you should avoid:

  1. Don’ts sit in the front row. There are “Getai” or Opera Street Performance for the ghosts and people to watch. However, those red plastic chairs at the front row are supposed to be left vacant. Nobody should be seated because these seats are reserved for the ghosts to be seated, to watch the performance. Otherwise, you may see the ghost sitting next to you .
  2. Don’t touch , step or kick. Watch where you are going during the Ghost Festival. You may encounter temporary alters on the road side, under the trees, near the drain or on the grass. Never ever step, kick or touch those prayer items offered. These alters are placed there in order to appease and respect the wandering ghost. If you had accidentally step or kick the alter items, quickly say “sorry” to it. You wouldn’t want the ghost to follow you back home,right?
  3. Don’t look under the alter. Prayer alters which are put up at home or temples are meant for the ghosts to enjoy the food offered. Do not bend your head down, looking over your legs because you may “see” the angry ghost eating food. Nobody likes to be seen eating under the table, right?
  4. Don’t stay out or swim. Avoid late night outings especially when the dark night falls in. It is believed that you might “bump” into them. Do not swim at night because those ghosts who were drowned would pull you down too. That is why you don’t see Chinese people swimming at night.

There are many more superstitions which you may find funny or disbelieving but one should not ridicule , make a joke about these myths during the Ghost festival.

It is better to be safe than sorry.

That is what my mother in law and my mom used to say.

Better stay at home !

copyright allrights reserved and photos by peachpurple

Christian : All Souls Day – November

1st of November is All Souls Day, it is a day where all Catholics and Christians all over the world to celebrate solemnly (sadly) which is a compulsory event.

 

cemetery by pixabay
cemetery by pixabay

 

All Souls Day is similar to the CHinese Ching Ming where people pray for their dead ancestors, relatives or family members in order to remember them in their memories.

 

As for us Catholics and Christians, we usually offer prayers in churches, at home and visit the cemeteries of our ancestors.

flowers by peachpurple
flowers by peachpurple

Our family ritual

 

My dad, my brother and I used to visit my great-grandparents, grandparents (fraternal parents ), aunties and uncles ( my father’s siblings ) and my cousin ( passed away because he was ill ) before November 1st or 2nd.

 

My brother said that we should try to avoid massive traffic jams at the cemeteries as it was difficult to drive through the murky path which isn’t a paved road at all and to avoid hot weather ( he hated hot sunny weather that makes him sweat ).

 

Hence, we usually visit the Catholic cemeteries on weekdays instead of weekends to avoid the traffics jams and soaring price of cut flowers.

 

Expensive flowers and candles

 

Do you know that the florist would mark up the cost of each flowers by a dollar on these special occasions? They aren’t honest at all! All they want is to earn extra money out of us !

 

My dad and I used to buy 36 stalks of flowers from a Chinese lady florist for years. We have to visit 12 of our ancestors in 2 different cemeteries, one on the North and the other on the South of the state.

 

We would offer 3 stalks of flower for each person and 3 packs of white candles to light up with additional short prayers.

 

My beloved grandma

 

As for my grandmother whom we loved most and still could remember her in our memories, we took extra care by bringing along brushes, scrubs, water and soaps to wash her tomb stone and re-write the fading marks of her name on the stone with a red marker pen.

 

Oh yes, we also bring 2 umbrellas to shield the hot heat and 3-4 of 1 litre water bottles as my brother can’t stand sweating and my old daddy always felt giddy after the visiting.

 

That is how we spent on All Souls Day 2 years ago.

 

No more All Souls Day for us

 

After my mom was hit with a stroke 2 years ago, my dad had high blood pressure and my brother had OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder ), we had not done our part on All Souls Day ever since the illness hit them.

 

I can’t drive so nobody could take me there. I wish my hubby would but he is the superstitious type.

 

Geez, when will I have the chance to pay homage to my ancestors again on All Souls Day? 10 years later when my boy grows up?

 

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originally written by peachpurple

photo credit: flower by peachpurple

cemetery by pixabay