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Thursday, 10 July 2008


Hungry Ghosts

Celebrated on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month by Buddhists and Taoists. Bundle of joss sticks, paper hell money, and food placed on the street corner and roadsides are burnt to appease the dead spirit from entering their home and cause disturbance in their household. It is believed that the gate of the hell are opened and all the hungry ghosts wander the earth in search of food and taking revenge to those who has wronged them in life. Legend has it that two childhood sweethearts forbidden were rejected marriage by their parents, committed suicide by jumping from the Yu Lan Bridge. A single stalk of lotus bearing two flowers under the bridge was found several days later.

It is said that Buddha had a disciple called Mu Lian. Mu Lian's mother was sinful in her previous life, so she became one of the hungry ghosts. Under the guidance of Buddha, Mu Lian prepared a variety of foods and delicacies for the monks from all around on the 15th of the 7th lunar month and combined their merits to release his mother from her torment. As a result of his actions, his mother was saved.


Celebrated around May by Buddhists which marks three momentous events in Buddha's life - his birthday, enlightenment, and achievement of Nirvana. The celebration begins at dawn when devotees gathering at the temples to meditate on the Eight Precepts. Donations, giving food to the needy, offerings of incense, joss sticks and prayers are carried out. The sutras are chanted in unison by monks in saffron robes. The celebration is highlighted by a candle procession.

Moon Cake

Known also the mid-autumn festival which falls on the 15th day of the eighth Chinese Lunar Calendar. This is a historical festival rather than a religious one. It marks the successul rebellion against the Mongol ruler dated back in 14th century China. Legend has indicated that the secret about a plot against the Mongolians was hidden inside the mooncake and the mooncake was distributed widely. Lanterns were used at night as signals from higher grounds and hilltop. Today, this festival is celebrated with moon cakes and latern hanging on the house. The lantern and the moon cakes have attracted many children and adults attention. In certain area, lantern procession and competition are held.

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