安生定冥 @ 盂蘭節 | The praying altar @ Hungry Ghosts Festival
It is believed that the soul contains elements of both yin and yang. The yin is the kui, or demon part, and the yang is the shin, or spirit part. When death occurs, the kui should return to earth, and the shin to the grave or family shrine. If a spirit is neglected, it will become a kui. The shin, or ancestral spirit watches over its descendants, and can bring good fortune if properly worshiped.
Through out the ceremony, different levels of monks will take turns to chant the "prayers of relief" for the hungry ghosts, hope to cleanse their guilt during life and provide them with sense of relief.
Origin and facts of the Hungry Ghost Festival:
The Ghost Festival, also known as the Hungry Ghost Festival, or Yu Lan is a traditional Chinese festival and holiday celebrated by Chinese in many countries. In the Chinese calendar (a lunisolar calendar), the Ghost Festival is on the 15th night of the seventh month (14th in southern China).
In Chinese tradition, the fifteenth day of the seventh month in the lunar calendar is called Ghost Day and the seventh month in general is regarded as the Ghost Month (鬼月), in which ghosts and spirits, including those of the deceased ancestors, come out from the lower realm.
Distinct from both the Qingming Festival (in spring) and Chung Yeung Festival (in autumn) in which living descendants pay homage to their deceased ancestors, on Ghost Day, the deceased are believed to visit the living.
On the fifteenth day the realms of Heaven and Hell and the realm of the living are open and both Taoists and Buddhists would perform rituals to transmute and absolve the sufferings of the deceased. Intrinsic to the Ghost Month is ancestor worship, where traditionally the filial piety of descendants extends to their ancestors even after their deaths.
Activities during the month would include preparing ritualistic food offerings, burning incense, and burning joss paper, a papier-mâché form of material items such as clothes, gold and other fine goods for the visiting spirits of the ancestors
More images of the Hungry Ghosts "Yu Lan" Festival here:
More Chinese Temples images here:
Photo shot with Photo shot with Nikon D600 + + AF-S NIikkor 50mm f/1.8G