Ghost Month Begins – Scenes from August 22, 2017
Our Backyard in Houston, Texas
Released just in time for this week’s Hungry Ghost Festival, Music for Ghost Month is a compilation of the music we’ve made for our Hungry Ghost movies.
Music for Ghost Month is an “elastic album” — we will continue to add new tracks as our work expands.
Music for Ghost Month is available now as a free download from our Bandcamp site:
This is what Ghost Month sounds like in the US. It was recorded in our backyard last year for the soundtrack of our movie Going Home.
We began observing Ghost Month in 2015 by launching this blog and creating compelling content to make it uniquely “us.”
We registered the domain name hungryghostfestival.us with the .us extension, mostly because the .com extension was unavailable.
But, .us also served the purpose of distinguishing us here in Houston, Texas, USA from the rest of the world where Ghost Month is traditionally celebrated.
Initially, we thought we would find pockets of people around Houston celebrating Ghost Month and learn more about the traditions through local interactions.
Most Asian grocery stores in town carry joss paper and joss sticks, even if it’s only a small selection. Larger stores carry a wide variety of supplies including joss burners and the ever evolving paper offerings.
What we discovered was that there are people buying these items, but there are not public displays of the rituals.
The dramatic scenes of people burning bonfires of joss paper so commonly shown in photos of Ghost Month do not exist here in Houston.
Nor do such photos exist from other places across the United States. Roughly 5.6% of the American population is of Asian decent. Even though Ghost Month is not observed in all Asian cultures, it seems like Hungry Ghost Festivals in the United States would be more prevalent than they appear to be.
I believe this is due in part to the highly superstitious nature of the observance and the tendency to conceal such beliefs in the context of the American norm. After all, American superstitions about ghosts are much more about entertainment than anything spiritual.
The American block buster movie Ghost Busters, a story about capturing ghosts, is a far cry from the street operas that reserve the front seats for the ghosts in the audience.
Americans do not like to be called superstitious.
As a result, I believe that Ghost Month here in Houston, and probably all across the United States, happens not out in the open, in the streets, but in the privacy of one’s home, in one’s backyard.
This is how we are celebrate Ghost Month, in our backyard.
This made me realize that we came to the Hungry Ghost Festival not because we were looking for something new and different to celebrate, but because of who we are. It turns out to be a very personal thing. It is what makes us… us.
This makes our .us domain extension even more meaningful.
Because hungryghostfesitval.us is first and foremost – about US.
|Malaysian webcomic describes the Pokémon-hunting zombie hordes perfectly
Look out your window at night, and you’ll see a new crop of nocturnal loiterers at playgrounds and parks hunting Pokémon.
The mobile game came to Southeast Asia over the weekend just in time for the Hungry Ghost Festival. read more…
|Malay Celebrity Chef Good-Natured Message Of Tolerance For Hungry Ghost Month Goes Viral
The Hungry Ghost Month is when the gates of hell will open and spirits will be free to roam the earth seeking food and offerings which the Chinese observe by offering sacrifices of foods, burning joss papers, chanting scriptures, and making lanterns.Singaporean celebrity chef, Shahrizal Salleh has found himself in the spotlight after calling for tolerance and understanding of this ancient Chinese tradition in a Facebook posting on 3 August, which happens to be the first day of the 7th lunar month marking the beginning of the Hungry Ghost Festival. read more…
|Hungry Ghost Festivals In Malaysia
Great photos of the first few days of Ghost Month in Kuala Lumpur. read more…
|How to Avoid Hong Kong’s Hungry Ghosts This August
Nearly all world cultures have festivals to remember the dead, and Hong Kong is no exception. Living descendants pay homage to their deceased ancestors on Ching Ming in the spring and on Chung Yeung in the autumn.But there’s another festival that is less well understood, a time when people all over the city burn offerings to the dead on city streets: Hungry Ghost Festival (Zung1 Jyun4 Zit3 中元節). read more…
|Hungry Ghost Festival
When the clock strikes midnight on the seventh month of the Chinese lunar calendar, the gates of the afterlife crack open to unleash ghosts unto the land of the living.
For a period of one month every year, the Hungry Ghost Festival takes over Penang – in 2016, it’s happening August 3-31. read more…
|WATCH: The craftsmen who create traditional paper offerings for the Hungry Ghost Festival
The Hungry Ghost Festival is upon us. Taking place on the seventh month of the Lunar calendar (which is Aug 3-31 this year), this is a time when the gates of the underworld unleashes its spirits to roam among the living. It’s also a time for those who observe the festival to burn incense and paper effigies for their deceased ancestors.
If you’ve ever wondered about what goes on behind the scenes of making papier-mâché traditional offerings, watch this documentary about the master craftsmen in Bukit Mertajam, Penang. Every year, this trio of artists in the Malaysian town build majestic, intricate structures depicting the King of Ghosts for the festival. read more…
This is our second year to observe Ghost Month. Last year, we documented our experiences in music, videos and photographs.
Visit Pineapple Photography to see our best photos.
Today is the Rap Bua Festival (“Lotus Flower Receiving Festival”)
in Bang Phli, Samut Prakan, Thailand. It is also called the Yon Bua Festival which translates as “Lotus Throwing Festival.”
The Lotus Throwing Festival is the better name as that is basically what one does at this festival: throw lotus flowers at a boat with a replica of the famous Buddha statue, Luang Poh Toh.
People gather along the banks of the Samrong Canal to throw the flowers at the boat as it passes by. The lotus flowers carry prayers and wishes to the Buddha. Flowers that land on the Buddha’s lap help make their prayers and wishes come true.
Living in Houston, Texas makes it somewhat of a challenge to participate in this festival, not unlike the experience of celebrating Hungry Ghost Month.
Yet, it is my experience of celebrating Hungry Ghost Month that has brought me here today, to The Lotus Throwing Festival.
And, to the creation of my latest iBook,
Through the Lotus Looking Glass…
133 lotus flowers I humbly throw at Luang Poh Toh.
Read more about The Lotus Throwing Festival here.