August ( the 7th month of the Chinese Lunar Calender) is the month of the Hungry Ghost Festival. The Taoist Chinese believe that for the entire month, the gates of Hades are open and spirits are allowed to wander the earth to seek food and avenge those who had wronged them.
Here are some 'spooky' facts to share about the festival.
The hungry ghosts will visit their loved ones and a lavish spread is prepared to welcome them.
In Penang, roadsides are lined with giant joss sticks
Prayers are offered to the deceased and joss sticks and paper offerings are burned to appease the ghosts. These offerings take the form of paper replicas of money notes, credit-cards, houses , luxury cars, designer bags, flat-screen TVs, etc ( hell, even in Hades you have to keep up with the Joneses ) because the Taoists believe that these offerings when burned will reach the ghosts and help them live comfortably in their after life
A paper car
Paper cell phones with charger included - What's the area code for hell?
Paper replicas of LV bags
Paper designer shoes
Sexy paper lingerie for the dead.
Just because you have expired doesn't mean the partying has to end!
There are stuff like paper viagra and paper effigies of heavily made-up female escorts too. Paper cigarettes are also available!! A male buddy said he'd go to heaven for the climate and hell for the company!
Hell Bank Notes - Only these are legal tender in Sin City!!
In Singapore and Malaysia, shows and concerts are performed on outdoor stages in some areas to entertain the ‘wandering ghosts.’
Note that the front row seats are always left empty for the 'guests'.
A 'Condominium' gift for the dead
There are rules to observe too.
Swimming is prohibited lest you be drowned by a ghost.
Children are advised to return home early and not to wander around alone at night. This belief is due to the reason that the wandering ghosts might possess children.
15 days after the feast, the festival will be over and the ghosts return to the lower realms.
So, if you are out alone at an unearthly hour, do be careful. You might bump into someone .. er something very hungry or angry!!