Our fire burned brightly with offerings for the Hungry Ghost Festival.
Join us tonight on Periscope at ~8 p.m. (CDT)
The Hungry Ghost Festival is upon us. Joss supplies are a must to celebrate properly. If you still haven’t purchased your joss supplies, last minute shoppers in Houston may want to try these locations. It seems that joss supplies tend to be on aisles located near the sides of the store.
Hong Kong Food Market 11205 Bellaire Blvd Houston, TX 77072 (281) 575-7886 Hours: Mon - Sun 8:00 am - 10:00 pm Best overall selection of everything joss including paper, sticks and gift offerings (like shirts, shoes, food, techno-bling, etc.) as well as burners.
Welcome Food Center 9180 Bellaire Blvd Houston, TX 77036 (713) 270-7789 Hours: Mon - Sun 9:00 am - 10:00 pm Good selection of joss supplies, mostly paper and sticks. Some gift offerings and burners.
Jusgo Supermarket 9280 Bellaire Bvld Houston, TX 77036 (713) 270-1658 Hours: Small selection of joss supplies including paper, sticks and gift offerings.
99 Ranch Market 1005 Blalock Rd Houston, TX 77055 (713) 932-8899 Hours: Mon - Fri 9:00 am - 9:30 pm Sat 8:00 am - 10:00 pm Sun 8:00 am - 9:30 pm Very small selection of joss paper and sticks including a variety of bundles.
The Hungry Ghost Festival is Friday, August 28th.
If you would like to see how Hungry Ghost Month is observed in Singapore, check out the independent film, A Month of Hungry Ghosts.
The official website is here:
You can rent the movie from Amazon Prime Instant Video here:
A Month of Hungry Ghosts
A Month of Hungry Ghosts (2009) NR Every year during the seventh lunar month, it is believed that the gates of hell are opened and all the souls are set free to wander the earth. During this time, the spirits try to fulfill their past desires. They are the "hungry ghosts." Starring: Baozhen Chen, Lama Thubten Namdrol Dorje Runtime: 2 hours, 8 minutes
a free download from the iTunes Bookstore just in time for Ghost Month
for the Hungry Ghost Festival — August 28 — everywhere
I love paper. All kinds of paper, especially origami paper. I have been playing with origami paper for most of my life.
Now I have discovered joss paper. Oh my.
At first glance, joss paper seems a lot like origami paper. It is thin inexpensive paper, usually modestly decorative, and is often folded.
Upon closer inspection, however, the two papers couldn’t be more different.
Almost all origami paper is square and comes in solid colors or patterns. Very few types of joss paper are actually square and rarely are they printed in color or in patterns. Joss paper is usually printed in gold, black or red ink and resembles Chinese paintings and scrolls.
Origami paper is designed to be folded into beautiful models. Students practice for years to master the art of origami. Joss paper is designed to be burned. Period. That is its entire purpose for existence.
Some paper is intended to be folded into offerings for the dead, but it is still meant to be burned. And, by the way, folding makes it burn better.
How many origami artists create their work just to set it aflame?
There are “paper builders” in Singapore, Taiwan, China, and scattered across other countries who make a living building paper models out of joss paper just so people can set them on fire.
So, the first reason I fell in love with joss paper: you get to burn it.
But all of that is true of origami paper as well.
What makes joss paper so unique is the symbolism of each type of paper coupled with the message delivered by its incineration.
Paper clothes to be worn in hell, and Hell Bank Notes to spend.
Prayers to the gods for safety, and gold to honor the ancestors.
The biggest reason I fell in love with joss paper is because it is both sacred and sublime.
Origami paper is for the living. Joss paper is for the dead.
Check out the Hungry Ghost Guide for illustrations of 17 different types of joss paper available in Houston, Texas, USA.
Joss paper is burned in mass quantities during the observance of Ghost Month, resulting in large-scale emissions of smoke, ash and flue gas. In Singapore, for example, the first day of Ghost Month is jokingly referred to as National Pollution Day.
The volume of these emissions has led to the need for environmental regulations for religious ceremonies. It has even spawned a new industry for electronic and low-emission Joss paper burners.
I am coming to appreciate the exuberance with which Joss paper is burned during the Hungry Ghost Festival, and I find myself thinking about the Burning Man Festival. Some of us have a need to play with fire. Actually, a lot of us do.
PS. Each piece of Joss paper is designed with meaning, purpose, and a prescribed use. We’ve found some helpful websites and have shared those links over here.