The Chinese Hungry Ghost Festival is also known as Zhong Yuan Jie. In Chinese culture (especially Asian countries), the Chinese Lunar seventh month calendar is regarded as the Ghost Month in which ghosts and spirits, including those of the deceased ancestors, release from the lower realm (Buddhist- the wheel of Samsara) for the whole month. During this month, there will be a grand scale of praying and celebration which will have Getai (singing in Hokkien or Teochew) and dinner with bidding for lucky things on such a night.
This year 2014, the first day of the festival was on 27th July (1st day of the seventh month) and the last day of the seventh month was on 24th August. The fifteenth day of the seventh month in the lunar calendar is called Ghost Day which fell on the 10th August.
My uncle who lives in Singapore, visited some popular Getai sites (in Ang Mo Kio, Serangoon Central and Potong Pasir) and took the time to take some photos to share with my readers.
The Chinese Hungry Ghost Festival is often confused by those who are unfamiliar with the festival. They often think that the festival is for Buddhism, which is wrong! In fact, this is a Chinese culture. It has nothing to do with Buddhism. Of course, this is easily misunderstood for those who are unfamiliar with the festival. All we ask is to respect the Chinese culture when you are in an Asian country. There are a lot of don’t and dos during the Ghost festival. For example, we will avoid walking over any offerings on the street; don’t sit on the front row of the Getai as it reserved for the ghosts and do not pick up any unique items on the floor.
These are the photos are the Getai/Chinese Opera and bidding sessions.
In this photo, there are 12 seats with the food which are meant for the 12 “officer spirits” as each spirit will be in charge of each lunar month to ensure “good behaviour & order” of the spirit population in every month! The 12 “officer spirits” are appointed by the superior God with the poster shown behind the 12 seats!
This photo is the Yanluowang (閻羅王/阎罗王). His face was covered by red paper as the prayer has not started yet and the monk would remove the red paper when the prayer starts.
Here is the Dua Yah Peh (大爷伯) Big Brother in White Robe and Di Ya Peh (二爷伯) 2nd Brother in Black Robe. The two Deities are often known as Dua Di Ya Peh (大二爷伯) by the Southern Chinese of Hokkien and Teochews and also known as Hei Bai Wu Chang (黑白无常) in Mandarin.
Once again, I would like to thank my uncle for providing and sharing these photos with my readers!