Building on what was written on the last post, the [Hungry] Ghost Festival is probably the Eastern version of Halloween. I can't remember what Halloween really represents (apart form all the commercial jazz) but the Ghost festival are more for those who died by suicide, accidents, drowning, hanging etc and have been denied entry into Heaven. They are angry since they are forced to dwell in Hell without food or comfort so when released from the Gates of Hell, they search for souls to take their place in misery.
To appease the angry restless spirits, street entertainments are performed and meals are cooked but this is the creepy part: all the seats are empty lol (or at least the front row seats for performances: reserved for ghosts). I read that shops will closed and altars/offers are placed in the middle of the empty road for the spirits which is again really creepy in itself.
|Reserved for Ghosts yo'. (KL, Malaysia - Wikipedia)|
This is a really good blog for pictures. I find it creepy that it's just so...empty. Especially when you read some of the captions lol. Seeing those pictures in the blog gives me the creeps; maybe it's different for me because I've actually seen stuff like that when I was a kid but didn't really know about it XD. Anyway that's the back story for the festival.
Other links if you wanna check em out (I'm only really putting them up here so that I can finally close some of the tabs I have open in my browser):
Hungry Ghosts in Chinese Religion
Superstitions: (copy pasta via wiki)
There are many superstitions and taboos surrounding the Hungry Ghost Festival. Spirits are thought to be dangerous, and can take many forms, including snakes, moths, birds, foxes, wolves, and tigers. Some can even use the guise of a beautiful man or woman to seduce and possess. One story refers to a ghost which takes the form of a pretty girl and seduces a young man until a priest intervenes and sends the spirit back to hell. It is believed that possession can cause illness and/or mental disorders.
During the 7th month of the Chinese calendar children are advised (usually by an elder in the family) to be home before dark, and not to wander the streets at night for fear a ghost might possess them. Swimming is thought to be dangerous as well, as spirits are believed to have drowned people. People will generally avoid driving at night, for fear of a "collision", or spiritual offence, which is any event leading to illness or misfortune. While "ghost" is a commonly used term throughout the year, many people use the phrase "backdoor god" or "good brother" instead during the 7th month, so as not to anger the ghosts. Another thing to avoid is sampling any of the food placed on the offering table, as doing this can result in "mysterious illness". Any person attending a show at indoor entertainment venues (Getais) will notice the first row of chairs is left empty. These seats are reserved for the spirits, and it is considered bad form to sit in them. After an offering has been burnt for the spirits, stepping on or near the burnt area should be avoided, as it is considered an "opening" to the spirit world and touching it may cause the person to be possessed.
- I would also like to add that if an altar is disturbed by an animal, we wouldn't chase it away because that is the animal's misfortune...not ours lol.
- Lastly I've never actually attended these kind of festivals as I grew up in England but I've heard of it so I won't be able to answer any specifics. Anyway hope you enjoy the reading material, it may help in the building of the 'creepy' factor.
Cool beans, I can finally close several hundred tabs now!
ps We also don't have to stick to the Chinese Culture, we can use another (or make up something like they did in Higurashi). I just thought this is quite a cool and unknown concept XD