Spooky Ghost Month (Aug-20 till Sep-18)

2 more days and it will be the 15th day of the Seventh Lunar Month which is the Ghost Festival, and the hell’s gates will be open in which all the ghosts and spirits will come up from their purgatory to wander the earth and visit their living relatives and friends for a month, and find food and entertainment offered to them.   It’s different from the Ching Ming Festival which is the living paying their respects and providing offerings for the deceased’s welfare in the afterlife.  This time it’s them coming up to visit the living.  As from what I see, the activities all seem to be similar; such as burning incense, hell notes and whatever paraphernalia like houses, cars or even IT gadgets all made of paper supposedly for the deceased.   What amused me was also paper branded goods like LV bags which I saw selling in one of the local markets.

As part of the celebrations, a large feast is also held for these spirits, with live singing performances to entertain them.   The front seats are usually empty as they are meant for the ghosts to sit and enjoy the show.  I have attended such previous 8-course dinner before.  It’s only the loud atmosphere and the smell of burning joss sticks and cigarettes lingering in the air that I dislike.  Everywhere you see smoke swirling in the air – guys sitting around smoking, altar filled with food offerings and those very big joss sticks, and a guy on the stage shouting the bids of goods at the top of his lungs, until his face all red, his voice hoarse and his shirt soaked with perspiration.  Then another performing stage will at the same time filled with loud blast of music from the stereos and women singers wearing sexy clothes singing and entertaining whoever is watching.  I like to see the way they dressed, though, with all the bling bling and the makeup on their faces.  They are pretty and the singers could earn quite well performing from one stage to another in different locations.  Of course they need to have a chauffeur and a car where they could change during the move-around.

During this time, we were also told not to stay out too late at night, to avoid bumping into the roaming spirits if luck is low.  Do not turn our head if we hear our names being called.  Not sure why but just my guess – in case it’s a trick from the ghosts to capture our soul, hee?  Oh yes, also avoid going swimming.  Recently I signed up for a swimming class, and it didn’t occur to me that there’s any relation to this month.  Later the coordinator called and said a pregnant woman asked to postpone till Sep, and so she had to notify other students as well.  At first I did wonder what can happen as the pool is in a Christian organisation, but of course it’s better to be on the safe side.  I take it as a blessing in disguise as I will have more time to shop for a swimming costume.

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