Monday, August 27, 2007

Hungry Ghost Festival

We can see many people performing street rituals over the past 15 days. Today happens to be the 15th Day of the 7th Lunar Month. What actually is this Hungry Ghost Festival about? Let me share with you today.

The Hungry Ghost Festival, also known as Zhongyuan Jie, spans the entire seventh lunar month. No one can recall when the Festival actually started, but there are two theories about its origin.
The first theory is that the festival originated in Taoism. The celebration marked the birthday of Di Guan, the God believed to have power over the land. Sacrifices were offered on this day to thank Guan for his crop protection.
However, most people tend to associate the festival with the Buddhist story about Mu Lian, the eldest monk under the discipline of Buddha. Mu Lian's mother committing many terrible crimes, including murder and was sent to the 18th level the very bottom of Hell, where she became a hungry ghost.

Mu Lian learned of her suffering and went down hell to try alleviate her pain with rice and water, but he failed, as the food quickly caught fire before it could reach his mother's lip. Mu Lian then asked Buddha for advice. He was told to perform rituals with sincerity on the 15th day of the seventh month and prepare food for other ghosts as well. The gods were so emotionally moved by his act that they finally let his mother go.
Since then the date has been known as the Hungry Ghost Festival. It is thought that the gates of Hell are opened on that day, releasing hungry ghosts into the world. On the last day of the month, all of them must return back to hell.


Anonymous said...

Frankly this is causing alot of air pollution and the ozones must be suffering.

Khiat Han Hwee Adrian said...

Nothing comparable to those factories in China if we are talking about pollution.

Anonymous said...

hey one air pollution adds up to many air pollution.

We must thing of everyone. Not just china.

Anonymous said...

The poor sweepers have to sweep a lot of the burned papers and foodstuff. Ever wonder why the sweepers are protected and the chinese are so afraid even to step on them. Think about it.
The festival is good for business; the getai, the food market, the joss stick sellers; to increase consumption which is essential to economic growth.