Friday, 31 October 2014
Chinese Halloween a.k.a. ''Hungry Ghost Festival'' 鬼节 - No selfies allowed!
Happy Halloween to my dear readers!
Hope your enjoying your day with pumpkin carving, dressing up and watching creepy movies. Ever wondered if they celebrate Halloween in China? Well they do! But of course not in the way you would expect it.
Ghost Festival is written as 鬼节 (guǐ jié) and consists of the character 鬼 meaning 'ghost' and 节 meaning festival. Nowadays it's also called 'Hungry Ghost Festival'.
If you want to 'celebrate' Halloween the Chinese way you are actually too late already. Ghost Festival is held on the 14th or 15th night of the seventh month every year and it's not really a celebration at all. Chinese people cannot wait for it to be over. They believe that during this time of the year the gates of both heaven and hell are open, which allows ghosts and spirits to entertain themselves at earth. These ghosts are said to be old ancestors who didn't get a proper send off or whose family didn't gave any offerings after they died. Families provide different offerings for these ghosts such as food, wine, incense and paper money which is said to have value in the afterlife. They are hoping that these offerings will keep the ghosts from intruding their homes and bringing misfortune. In some cities performances are held where the front rows are reserved for the ghosts. Fourteen days after the festival, people set up floating lanterns in the water to make sure all the fed ghosts find their way back to the underworld.
How to survive 'Ghost Festival'
If you want to prepare for next year already..
The whole 7th month is considered as 'Ghost Month' where the ghosts will be lurking around every corner. Here are some tips on how you can survive 'Ghost Month'.
- It is inauspicious to get married or sign important contracts.
- Wearing black will invite ghosts to come near you.
- Beware of the 水鬼 ( shuǐ guǐ ) a.k.a water ghost when you go swimming. They lurk in the water waiting to drown their victims so they can possess their bodies.
- Don't go out during the evenings.
- And last but not least.. for the modern kids; NO SELFIES allowed! You might capture a ghost instead of capturing that crush of yours with your beautiful selfie.
Thank you for reading & enjoy your Halloween!
~ mei mei