Your friends might have already started spamming you funny memes about Hungry Ghost Festival via Whatsapp.
Touted as the creepiest month in the Lunar calendar, and the Hungry Ghost Month is also known as 7th month or Zhong Yuan Jie as well.
During this time of the month, the gates of both Heaven and Hell open.
Ghostly spirits are released and allowed to roam on Earth.
Way back during ancient times, the 7th month is a festival which Taoists and Buddhists provide offerings to the deceased.
But in this day and age, anyone who doesn’t want to be harassed by the hao xiong di (a Chinese term to describe the spirits in a friendly and cordial manner) can burn offerings to make peace with them.
The Hungry Ghost Month for 2020 will start on 19 Aug and end on 16 Sep 2020 (Please mark that down in your calendar with triple stars)
As we all know, the pandemic has kind of wrecked havoc in all aspects of our lives, 7th month included.
This year, things are rather different if you would like to make offerings for your ancestors. Here’s the lowdown:
Those glittery costumes with great-sounding Hokkien songs performed by Getai thespians? That’s the Getai Singaporeans know and are proud of.
Even Royston Tan loves it so much that he made a movie out of it.
These performances are a source of entertainment for the deceased, and usually, the first few rows are left empty for them to sit and enjoy the music.
Things are a little different this year since we human beings are not allowed to head out for large gatherings.
The Getai performances are shifted to the virtual world and there aren’t as many to watch as compared to pre-Covid days.
Rope in your Ah Gong and Ah Ma to catch some of these e-getai performances brought to you by LEX-S here.
Paper and Incense offerings
Those tall and dark coloured metal bins you see around your block? They are meant to be used for burning offerings to the deceased during 7th month.
These spots are especially bright at night as people also light candles around the bin.
Depending on your ancestors’ likes and dislikes, all sorts of offerings can be burnt.
Traditional ones include kim zua (paper offerings), incense, paper money etc.
The more interesting offerings are iPad and the latest smartphone model.
These offerings are burnt so that the deceased will be able to receive them back in their world, allowing them to share in the joy of Candy Crush.
Note of caution: Do not kick or step on these offerings if you are passing by.
Urban legend has it that the deceased might follow you home thereafter. If you do step on these offerings unknowingly, apologise before walking away.
For those who are still wary about heading out to make your offerings purchases, there are online shops which sell all you need for the 7th month.
If you prefer your offerings to be more authentic to show your sincerity, check out Yew Chye Religious Goods Trading where the owner Mr Lai makes everything by hand.
Now that the 7th month is here, our senses are gonna be heightened.
Try not to jump at every sound you hear, and avoid watching horror films to scare yourself unnecessarily (unless you like such scare-fest films, then that’s another story entirely).
Pray more for your safety and all will be good after September 16.
To know more about Hungry Ghost Festival, check out this video whereby we list down the 10 facts that you should know about (please also subscribe to our YouTube channel!):