At this time of the year in Singapore, we believe that we are living with Ghost all around us. These are the Ghost that are usually the hungry ones and are being release once a year for the whole month in search for food to eat. Unlike the Halloween, The Hungry Ghost Festival or the seventh Month would prolonged for the whole month. It is referred to as 7th month because it happen on the 7th month of the lunar calendar. If you are not using the lunar calender, the dates are usually starting sometime early of August and ends early of September (estimates).
Try Imagine walking at night knowing that there are ghostly spirits everywhere. I used to dislike this time of the year not because I’m really afraid of these “ghost”, more so because my mum would be nagging that I should return home before the sky turns dark. Mum would always remind, “DO NOT look back if you hear anyone calling out your name from behind during this time.” that is because it is most likely one of those wondering spirit. And if you do turn back and look, the lights on your shoulder will be blown off and you will never return! Imagine listening to all this as a child? Would you still go out and dare these wondering spirit or would you just hide under a blanket?
Well, those are not all. There are more to the list that just that. The first and foremost “DO NOT” was to not go anywhere near to the offerings that can be found on the ground (like the picture above). If you look at the pictures, usual offerings to these “hungry” ghost are apples, oranges and some bits of cookies placed on paper plates. These cookies are specially made for such prayers, you can attempt to eat them after the prayer but I wouldn’t because I don’t find them tasty at all.
The prayer also includes burning of incense paper, hell notes as a way of sending these notes to the wandering spirits. They will only be able receive these notes if we burn them. As such, sometimes, we burn them with all our might so that they will leave us alone and not haunt us. An example of this action is like the picture below.
No one gets married during this time. The Chinese believe getting married during this period will bring bad luck to the marriage. So Hotels & wedding Banquet are usually cheaper for the non-believers.
Also, we cannot go swimming during the 7th month or the spirit will drown us while we swims! How eerie?
I only wish the Hungry Ghost festival is like the Halloween, where we scare ourselves with “pretend” ghost and still have fun! Below are the Halloween photo taken 3 consecutive years.
Anyway, my title says Yummy Cakes. Right after the seventh month, we celebrate mid-autumn festival where we eat MOONCAKE and celebrate full moon. On the 15th Day of the eighth month of the lunar calender, the moon should be exceptional round and big. During this time, family would gather together indulging on moon-cakes while the children will walk around with their fun lantern in the dark.
I used to really enjoy mid-autumn festival as a child, because this is probably the only time we are allow to play with fire, lighting up the candles in the lantern all on our own! After lighting the candles, my siblings and I would drip the candles wax on the table and light up many candles to brighten up the night.
I remember my lantern is always a rabbit because I love rabbit when I was a child. The traditional lantern are shown below:
These days, due to some reasons, the lanterns are made with battery operated ones that are lighted on small bulbs. That means no more candles! (Boring!) Not just that, it comes with some irritating music too! So instead of a quiet evening admiring the moon, it will be a super noisy evening with kids running around with musical lighted lanterns. Yes I mean running with the lanterns! During my childhood, I don’t run with lanterns! I walk with them making sure the light don’t go off. So much fun! 🙂
This year, the mid autumn festival will be on the 19th September, I’m going to try to bring back my childhood memories with Jos in the Dutch land! Looking forward! I will make a special post on that if it really happens. 🙂
Signing Off, J