Course Outline

Topics: Ghost Festival, Joss paper, China Pages: 16 (5557 words) Published: December 3, 2012
The Hungry Ghost Festival or Yue Lan is under the categorized of fairs and festivals which the local community will assemble in particular area for any reason such as religious. It comprises of performances, arts and demonstrations by the community to celebrate any festivals. The fair often is non-profit event and festival primarily is non-profit event and it gives the opportunity to the communities to celebrate their culture. Hungry Ghost Festival is a festival that posses important expression of human activity that contributes much for Chinese’s social and cultural life. This festival primarily not-for-profit event which provide unlimited opportunities for organizations to celebrate their culture while providing deep meaning for those who participate and attend (Goldblatt, 2011). Festival also able to increasingly linked with tourism to generate business activity and income for their host community (Allen et al., 2011). The Hungry Ghost Festival is a time of strange rituals and stranger sights. A little like Halloween, but scarier, the Chinese believe that during the seventh moon heaven and hell collide and the spirits of restless souls return to earth to seek revenge on those that wronged them.

1.1 Origins of Hungry Ghost Festival
This festival is associated with the Buddhist story about Mu Lian, the eldest monk under the discipline of Buddha. His widowed mother was a wicked and cruel woman who committing many terrible crimes. She was sent to the 18th level the very bottom of Hell where she became a hungry ghost. Mu Lian learned of her suffering and went down to hell to help try and alleviate her pain with rice and water but failed as the food quickly caught fire before it could reach his mother’s lips. Mu Lian then asked Buddha for advice and he was told to perform rituals with sincerity on the 15th day of the seventh month and prepare food for other ghosts as well. The Gods were so emotionally moved by his act that they finally let his mother go. Since then the date has been known as the Ghost Festival. It is thought that the gates of Hell are opened on that day, releasing hungry ghosts into the world.

1.2 Beliefs of Hungry Ghost Festival
Hungry ghost is one of the six modes if existence in the Six Realms according to the Buddhist believes. In the Zen of Eating, Kabatznick (1998), states that the hungry ghost is both a mythological figure of enormous appetite and physical desire for desire. Kabatznick (1998) also stated that; ‘Hungry Ghosts are large, mythic beings with huge, distended bellies and extremely narrow throats prevent them from getting fulfillment they crave. No matter what they do, or how hard they try, they feel empty and unsatisfied. The Hungry Ghost is not just a figure in Buddhist mythology. There’s a Hungry Ghost in each of us too.’ Teiser (1996), discusses the Chinese Buddhist way of looking at the Hungry Ghost figure in his book ‘The Spirits of Chinese Religion’ whereby he states that the realm of incarnation is divided into six possible forms the human being can take in rebirth, at the top are gods, demigods, and human beings; while animals, hungry ghost and hell beings occupy the lower rungs of hierarchy. Only hungry ghosts hunger for their food as they have to rely on their relatives to feed them. Keaton (2002), states that all the deceased ancestors are treated as hungry ghost, and surviving relatives pay homage to the dead by offering food and paper offerings. Strictly speaking hungry ghost can be a deceased person who has failed to become reincarnated due to unworthiness, unresolved attachment of relatives’ lack of attention to the death rituals. Keaton (2002), goes on to say those children traditionally feed the deceased parents throughout the rest of their lives. It is the surviving descendant’s responsibility to attend to their dead relatives throughout the years especially during the Hungry Ghost Festival.

1.3 4W 1H of Hungry Ghost...
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