In pictures: The auspicious seventh lunar month
Text and Photos: Joyce J. Chansingh
Traditional Chinese beliefs hold that the seventh lunar month, or commonly known as the Hungry Ghost Month is an annual event when the gates of Hell realm open, and departed souls return to visit the living.
During this so-called inauspicious month, incense and food are offered to deities and the “wandering souls”, and activities like home renovations and wedding ceremonies are out of the question for fear of bad luck. Other taboos include avoiding late night outings, swimming and even painting your nails black.
But is the month-long Hungry Ghost Festival really nothing more than an ill-omened period? Well, apparently not.
In fact, the seventh lunar month is an auspicious time for Buddhists – a joyful and blessed month, in particular the 15th day of this period where Buddhists celebrate the “Ullambana Festival”, also known as “Buddha’s Joyful Day”.
Focusing on the values of filial piety and gratitude - both to the departed loved ones and even those who are still around, prayers are made by chanting to help in the liberation of one’s deceased parents and relatives.
xinmsn pays a visit to two Buddhist temples in Singapore – Thekchen Cholin and Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastry to understand the significance of their offerings and rituals.
The seventh lunar month this year starts on 7 August and ends 4 September, 2013.
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