Friday, August 27, 2010

August… Oh, Ghost!

I have been wondering why there are a lot of people burning paper money, lighting candles and even offering food on the streets, in hdb blocks, anytime of day. There were even programs or gatherings being held. At first, I thought they were celebrating in line of NDP. But NDP has already passed and I could see similar thing from almost every block, every corner. Thanks to Ros who told me about the Hungry Ghost month.

Hungry Ghost month is usually celebrated during this month in Singapore. As the legend goes, it is believed that the gates of hell are open by this time of year and the dead go out and wander freely among us – to seek food or even revenge.

Chinese believe that ancestral spirits, given respect will bring good luck and good fortune. Hmmm… is this also a time to ask for lucky lotto numbers?

Thu Hungry Ghost is being held to appease the spirits specially those who were denied entry to heaven. They offer light candles for them, offer food, prayers, etc.

This is similar to All Souls day that we have in the Philippines every first day of November. During this time, we offer masses for our beloved who have joined our Creator. We also pray for those who may have been denied entry to heaven. Most families o to the cemetery, clean and decorate the tombs of their loved ones, spend the night there (as if spending it with their dead beloved). Some would even have picnics right there.

Before, I used to look at this day as a sad day as we have to think of our loved ones who have already departed. But now, I look forward to this day… not only to pray for the but to see relatives and friends. This day is usually an unplanned reunion. What a place of choice to reunite! Cemetery. But no matter how we look at this day, it is important not to forget the real essence of what the day is. Remember the dead, pray for them, honor them. And we should do that not only one day. We should do it everyday. Even if they are not with us, I am sure they would still feel our sincerity through our prayers.

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