Honouring the Dead Around the World: Ghost Festival

Honouring the Dead Around the World: Ghost Festival

 

Even though the name may sound a bit scary the Ghost Festival is a celebration that is held by people of Chinese origin, all around the world each year. Among the countries that celebrate the ghost festival are Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, South China and Hong Kong. The festival has its roots in ancient China, it is also known as the Hungary Ghost Festival and is celebrated on the 15th night of the seventh lunar month.

In Chinese tradition the Seventh month is considered to be the Ghost Month, a month when the ghosts and the spirits of deceased https://riberaxuquer.com/  relatives ascend from the lower realm and return to our world, in search of something. Unlike other days which honour the dead, on Ghost day it is believed that the dead visit the living. The belief is that the dead can only return during this one time of year because the gates of hell are only open during this time. The reasons vary as to why these spirits and ghosts return. Some return seeking the attention of their living dependants, whom they feel, have forgotten them. Others return to seek out a particular food or are searching for entertainment in the world of the living. It is traditional in some families to prepare a large meal for the returning ghosts. The belief is that they will get good luck and fortune if the Ghost is satisfied. They also pay tribute to wandering unknown ghosts to ward off bad luck.

The details and the way the Ghost Festival is celebrated vary greatly in different religions and regions around the world.

The Buddhists and Taoist believe the day is based on their religion and that that the realms of heaven and hell and the living are open and they perform rituals to absolve the guilty from their suffering. They also believe it is a time to worship ancestors.

In Singapore and Malaysia the Ghost festival has taken on a modern feel. The day is now marked with a music concert. Singers, dancers and other entertainers perform on stages set up in neighborhoods.

In Japan the day is also honored and has evolved into a day that is celebrated as a family reunion day. It is tradition to visit the graves of ancestors and clean them. It is known as Obon.

In Vietnam, it is seen as a time for pardoning condemned souls which results in them being released from hell. The releasing of birds and fish is thought to give favor to the living. Today the day is also a time to honor Mothers both living and deceased with thanks and prayer.

In Taiwan the belief is that ghosts haunt the island for the entire month. On the first day of the month the opening of the gate of a temple symbolizes the opening of the gates of hell. Offerings are made of incense and food to keep the spirits from visiting the homes. Spirit paper money is also burnt as an offering.

 

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