The Hungry Ghost Festival

I thought hungry ghost supposedly eat anything, but apparently not.

In Malaysia, people usually offer local delicacies like roast chicken, duck or pork, usually accompanied by steamed red Mi Ku and fluffy Uwa Ko Kueh and sometimes biscuits thrown in for dessert. I suppose these are what Chinese ghosts like to eat. I have yet to see food from KFC or McDonalds being offered to the ghosts. I dont' think the ghosts drink Starbucks coffee either.

According to a newspaper article, Hungry ghosts also eat fruits like pineapples, lychees and oranges. But not jambu or papayas.

This year, the hungry ghost month began on 20th August and will end on 17th September. The Chinese believe that during this time the gates of hell open, releasing ghosts and spirits to roam earth looking for appeasement, or food to satisfy their hunger.

In conjunction with this festival, makeshift stages and altars are contructed in Chinese populated areas in Malaysia especially in George Town, Ipoh, Taiping and the Klang Valley, for performances and prayers to appease the ghosts. Chinese operas and puppet shows are performed at this makeshift stages to entertain the ghosts in hope of keeping them from any mischief. These days, female singers wearing sexy outfits belting out Mandarin songs are also a common sight at these places. At these performances, the front row seats are always left vacant for the ghosts.

During the month, Chinese Taoists / Buddhists pray to dead ancestors and other spirits offering them food, money and other paper made luxuries.

Young children are discouraged from activities like swimming, cycling on the road or going out at night, throughout the festival, as it is believed they could be harmed by the ghosts. It is also considered bad luck to have marriage ceremonies during this time of year.

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