Just as Halloween is for Americans, the ‘Hungry Ghost festival’ is for the Chinese. For those who have never heard of this festival, here are the essential ‘spooky’ facts on this festival.
Hungry Ghost festival is a popular occasion that is taken very seriously by the Chinese. This festival that falls on the 7th month of the lunar New Year is celebrated mainly in China and other countries like Singapore & Malaysia. It is believed by the Chinese that during this month, the gates of hell are opened to free the hungry ghosts who then wander to seek food on Earth. Some even think that the ghosts would seek revenge on those who had wronged them in their lives. The reason why the Chinese celebrate this festival is to remember their dead family members and pay tribute to them. They also feel that offering food to the soulless deceased appeases them and wards off bad luck. This is also known as Phor Tor in HokkienAnother belief among the Chinese is that the dead return to visit their living relatives during the 7th month and thus they prepare a sumptuous meal for the ‘hungry ghosts’.
As a native Hokkien, we celebrated the Phor Tor on the 15th of the Chinese lunar calender, with offerings of chicken, ducks, meats, fruits, ciggies etc for the souless which we known them as " Hor Hniah Tee " or good brothers, in return for a safe working environment and business prosperity. Not being left out is also the Datuk-kong , which the offerings need to be halal.
All this being ended with burning of gold joss paper.