Author: Benjamin Chan
The annual Hungry Ghost Festival is an occasion observed by the local Chinese community, combining rituals of superstition and traditional beliefs.
The Hungry Ghost Festival is certainly nothing new to a lot of people around this globe. Let’s face it, as long as there are Chinese, you will never miss out the chance to see a colorful something for every occasion. The Chinese have got the Chinese New Year, the Cheng Beng (the equivalent of the Chinese All Soul’s Day), the celebration of a new born baby, birthdays, weddings; I mean, just name it!
But if there is a festival of which the community tends to be more a little more solemn and superstitious about, it certainly has got to be the Hungry Ghost Festival. What this occasion has in common with the others is basically – food! Except this time, the feasting isn’t for the living!
Some may argue that the Chinese do the same for Cheng Beng, that the food brought to the graves are an offering to the loved ones who have passed. However, others have countered this and say that the food brought over was in fact, not as offerings for the dead, but merely food for the living. This was because in the old days, family members travelled long distances to visit and clean the graves of their ancestors and simply needed to eat. As it was customary to bring food, the generations that went by somehow misinterpreted the customs and instead used the food as offerings.
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