Yup, it's the time of the month where the chinese believes that our spiritual friends from the Gates of Hell are released to roam around and visit their dearest ones for a month. It's sort of like Halloween but much more spiritual I guess because at the start of the month, people will start to pray, burn incense sticks, papers and light candles along the road to ensure that the spirits are not lost and welcomes them... it's also the time to 'feed' the spirits in the form of prayers, fruits, roasted meat, rice and cakes.The reason why it's called Hungry Ghost Festival is also because the spirits are locked up in Hell, right, so, in that 'world', they are not very well fed, so upon release, the spirits will 'eat' non stop but in truth, more like in accordance to my mum, when one dies and becomes a spirit, one will always feel hungry because a spirit is always empty inside. So, we, Chinese will pray and bring out the best offerings for the spirits hoping, this month, they will be well fed, satiated and go back to Hell once it's the end of the festival.
This is also the time of the month my mum will not allow us to travel abroad, especially places that have water which means the beach is a big no no. Superstitions believes that if we travel during this time of the month, well, 'accidents' tend to happen more. Probably because the spirits may feel a little naughty, angry, lonely or whatever and want to sort of 'drag' people down to Hell with them... I know, I make it sound so crude and evil, but it's superstitions and it's up to each person's believe. :)You can see these happening around Singapore, especially in the heartlands but definitely in Chinatown!!! There will be Chinese Opera and upbeat singing stage performances to 'entertain our spiritual friends' and it's free for all throughout the month of Hungry Ghost Festival. If you can find seats in the front row, please please DO NOT sit on it as it is reserved for our special guests, the spirits. If the spirits are being cooped up for 11 months for the rest of the year, with no entertainment at all, I'm sure they deserve a VIP front row seat, ya! Oh ya, those singing performances that happens in the evenings and nights are called 'Getai'.
Since our hostel is located right smack in the middle of Chinatown (no kidding!), do immerse yourself in this one of a kind festival and maybe you can spot one or two spirits while you are at it!! ha ha! :)