Tuesday, August 24, 2010

中 元 節 / Ghost Festival

This month is the celebration for 中 元 節 (Ghost Festival) and today is 農曆七月十五日 (the 15th Day of the Seventh Lunar Month). The seventh lunar month in the Chinese Calendar is commonly known in English as the Ghost Month and 農曆七月十五日 (15th Day of the Seventh Lunar Month) is the high point of this month long festival.

The previous Sunday, my brother and I went to the tombs of our grandmother, father and uncle for the ancestor worship ceremonies. Traditionally we do not go on the 15th Day of the Seventh Lunar Month as it can get very crowded. Strangely, the tomb ceremony is not universal to the Chinese who practise ancestor worship but appears to be a Hakka tradition. In Sarawak, this event is mainly in Kuching and amongst Kuchingites who moved to other parts of the state.

Today at home, the ceremony is for all the ancestors of the family and for those whose tombs we cannot or have not visited. My grandfather, on his way to visit his family in China, died at sea off Macau at the start of WWII. His first wife also died in China. So today's ceremony at home is mainly dedicated to them.

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