#Pink Ghost Stories Part 3 : The Hungry Ghost Festival

12:33:00 AM

Hey guysss :D.

How's your Saturday??? Mine was half bad (when my PMS flared up and i snapped at my hunny, or more like blew up hahahaha) but mostly good-ended up having an unexpected Saturday night date again because Baby Boy was throwing a tantrum and didn't want to go out hehe (little that he knows that his mummy's secretly glad to be able to watch a movie on a Saturday night like singles again after so long hahahaha), did some (minor) shopping and watched Jupiter Ascending afterwards (it's quite good, it's entertaining at least). Anyway, i just remembered that the last time i posted my Ghost Stories was also on a Saturday night?? Wogh, seems like a start of a new ritual >.<... Please enjoy!

I was planning to blog about something else, but somehow my Ghost Series' always beckoning to be continued hehehe. The second part got a great response as well so i am even more encouraged to continue sharing my creepy stories hehehehe.

In this third part, i'm not going to tell you just one incident like i did previously, but a few little ones (that's not even necessarily ghostly, but quite interesting nonetheless, if i may say so myself :P) that happened during the scariest time of the year if you happen to live in Singapore (or Malaysia and any other countries where the people celebrate this occasion/a similar one) : 
The Hungry Ghost Festival (photo source)
Have you ever heard about this festival? I didn't really know such thing existed before i lived in Singapore. Indonesian Chinese do celebrate Cing Ming but that's actually an entirely different thing to Hungry Ghost Festival. Let me tell you a little bit about it (i gathered all of the information from the internet as well as prior knowledge from my folks/books-so i might make some mistakes, do correct me if you see any misinformation, okay!) first.

The seventh month of the lunar calendar is considered the Ghost Month, and the peak falls on the 15th day of that month. It is a Chinese tradition, and they (we?) believe that during Ghost month the gate of hell is open and all ghosts are free to roam the earth-mostly to satisfy their hunger because... well... They're hungry -___-. I don't know why they're hungry, some says that their descents do not bother to "feed" their ancestors (i think this is based on Buddhism) after a few generations has passed, others say that in purgatory  sinners cannot accept "spirit food", hence the hunger. Then i just found another information from this post that the ghosts are hungry after two weeks of activies (roaming the earth, that is), so... Not sure which one's the official story hehe.

During the month, they would do stuffs to appease the hungry ghosts, like preparing festive meals for the ghosts :
Like these (photo source)
Of course, the ghosts are not going to be able to physically EAT it, they eat through the aroma instead (watch The Eye for reference). That's why when the offerings are finally "safe" to eat (by living humans)-they usually become tasteless, because the ghosts have already sucked all of the tastes and nutrients from the food. I don't know if it's a fact because i never ate any (but then again if you expose food for hours like that then it'd naturally become less tasty, right???).

They would also organize entertainments, in the olden days it would be in the form of a Chinese opera, then came the getai performances, but with time modern touches are added and performances might include singers belting out popular songs. After all, people dies everyday-so ghosts come from every era including the present :p.
But yeah, you can still definitely find traditional stages like this during the festival (photo source)
During the performances, you will find that the first row of the seats woud be left empty, and you're NOT supposed to seat there!
These seats are reserved, folks! (photo source)
You do not want to accidentally sit on a ghost's lap, right? They might get angry! Or worse, taken a liking to you *grin* hehehe. 

The atmosphere in Singapore during this Ghost month is definitely different! Maybe not in bustling Orchard Road or anywhere super crowded, but since i lived in East Coast, it's quieter and some lanes are really really deserted at night (now not as bad as it was 16 years ago, okay!). I was used to walk alone at night (i went out almost every day until night time during my stay in Singapore >.<, partly why my mum wouldn't let me continue further my studies there) and was never worried about anything. Singapore is one of the safest cities ever so i never thought about robberies/rapers, let alone ghosts hehe. I even dared to take shortcuts where i had to walk on a very narrow and pitch dark gutter hehehe. But that does not apply during Ghost Month!

It is generally a lot quieter during Ghost Month back then, probably people prefer to stay at home or at more crowded places instead of hanging out in deserted places right hehe, to add more creepiness-you can see incense burning pretty much everywhere on the street. I regret my addiction to True Singapore Ghost Stories books during these times because they gave me so much information that i cannot un-know hehehe.
This is a common sight... But joss sticks (without the food) are even more common, basically everywhere! (photo source)
One of the information is that if you see incenses burning, you should check if the smoke is rising naturally or not.
Normally incense's smoke would rise up straight like this (photo source)
One night i was walking home alone as usual, parting ways with my friend who's living a block away from me, when i stumbled into an offering. I saw the incense and immediately spotted the smoke SPIRALING up. According to the superstition, that means there is a ghost right there, enjoying their meal. Needless to say, i ran as fast as i could back to my apartment and try to come home earlier during Ghost Months (sometimes forcing my friends to walk me home hehe) ever since!

But even going home earlier does not solve all problems. I like to ride MRT better than buses, but sadly the nearest MRT station to my condo was a few bus stop away zzz. So it doesn't matter, i still had to ride a bus anyway to reach home. On another day, i found myself in an almost empty bus *WTF*, normally at night the bus uncle would only stop if there's a passenger waiting on the bus stop or a passenger hit the bell to let him know that he/she wants to alight. Well, that night the bus uncle kept on stopping in EVERY stops, even though the bus stop was completely deserted and nobody's alighting the bus!

Later i learnt that bus drivers do this because sometimes there are ghosts who want to ride the bus, or already in the bus and want to alight (OMG, can't they fly? Or float? Or teleport???) and to respect them, bus drivers would always stop to make sure they won't offend any ghosts -___-. Isn't it mind blowing to realize that such a modern country still holds superstitions like that (i dunno in 2015 ya, this was in late 1990s)? I personally find it fascinating... and creepy. What if i was sitting beside a ghost? Or worse, sitting on one like the hypothetical live performance audience we spoke about earlier??? ZZZ. 

Even when i already reached home, my problems are not all solved! Whenever i ride a bus, the closest bus stop to the entrance of my condo is nearby the back entrance. If i want to go from the main entrance, i would have to walk a WHOLE block, highly incovenient, right? (I walked so much in Singapore, no wonder i was able to drop 25kg within 3 months and became skinny for the first time in my life LOLOLOL, i do miss my skinny self but unwilling to starve myself to meet her again, fainting regularly was not fun)

It's so very strange, but during my three years stay in Singapore, every single 7th lunar month during the Ghost Month, somebody in my condo complex would die -____-. 
How did i know? Well, in Indonesia when your relatives die, mostly we laid them to rest before the funeral/cremation in a funeral home. Moslems usually laid them in their houses, but it's inside the house and nobody outside their friends and family would be able to see anything unless they step inside. There are funeral homes in Singapore too, of course-but for some reasons (maybe funeral homes are very expensive in Singapore?) most of them prefer to hold their deceased relatives' wake in their flat/condos for days until the day of the cremation/funeral. The flats/condos have special spaces that can be used to do this, in the open... On the common ground for all of the other residents to see.

The location of this space in my condo is pretty much next to the back entrance, which i had to pass whenever i was back from my hang outs -___-. I am pretty easy to spook and i feel very uncomfortable going to funeral homes, so imagine how i felt whenever i had to pass the wake every night for almost a week every year? And how come there would only be a wake in my condo complex during Ghost Month? Talk about weird coincidences...

Not to mention having to pass the pool where scary rumors has started to circulate after someone was found drowned in it...

In short, there were a lot of weirdness (or just plain creepiness) i experienced every Hungry Ghost Festival in Singapore, and even though i didn't directly met a ghost or whatever *touch wood!!!*, i still find Ghost Month to be extremely goosebumps inducing. But still extremely interesting hehehe.

I hope you find this post interesting! I love to read about cultures and tradition, even more so if they are deliciously creepy hehe.

More stories coming up next!
Would you visit me on the 7th month in Singapore?

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  1. We also respect ghost festival and we just stay at home. Once I went to a crowded area and I smelled incense everywhere. I don't know if the superstitions are supposedly true but I think there's no harm in believing anyway.

    1. We don't really know about this ghost festival in Indonesia though, only when i moved to Singapore that i know all about it haha. I agree, i don't see why we need to blatantly disrespect something just because we don't know if it's just superstitious

  2. Now I know the reason behind offering food for the ghosts. Following superstitions (whether these are true or not) is fun when practiced or celebrated as long as it does not harm others or it does not hinder discoveries.

    1. Yes, i agree-as long as it's harmless we should preserves traditions, i think!