A brief description of the Hungry Ghost Festival in Malaysia, and boy's experiences.
|Prompt: Write a story, poem, or essay that tells why the tradition of Halloween with its costumes, haunted houses, trick-o-treating, witches, ghosts, and goblins is a good custom or a bad one.
Or, if in your country you do not celebrate Halloween, tell us what holiday is most like it. When do you wear costumes or celebrate spooky things? Would you like to participate in such activities? Why or why not?
Hungry Ghost Festival
A Malaysian outlook
“Shhhh!...Don’t speak of those things,” Lu Ming’s friends implored. They were referring to paranormal activities that had been going around lately. “It’s the 7th month,” they continued, thus explaining the seasonal taboo.
Lu Ming was a young student in lower primary, where children are most susceptible to rumours and legends. Classmates tell of doors that close on their own accord, of lights that seem to flicker abruptly, and creaky noises in the dark. Fortunately for Lu Ming, his parents would have none of this.
“The door is not mounted straight. Happens often enough.”
“It’s normal, that’s just a slight interruption in the power supply.”
“Wind blowing at the windows. The window panes move about slightly, making that noise.”
It was the 7th month of the Chinese lunar calendar, and it was ripe time for school ground horror stories. Every year, on the 14th day of the 7th lunar month, the gates of hell are thrown open, and ghosts are allowed to roam the earth. They would visit their families, and as such, the families would usually prepare sumptuous feasts for the deceased. This is the Hungry Ghost Festival.
In neighbourhood road intersections, some might prepare a few joss sticks and a few bowls of food for any roaming ghosts that might wander by. By appeasing these ghosts, it is hoped that they would not cause any trouble to living mortals. Disturbing these offerings is definitely a no-no, lest one might offend a ghost in the process.
Stages are sometimes erected in the suburban commercial areas to perform and entertain. The target audience of these performances are the ghosts, but mortals usually fill up the temporary seats. Of late, some of the performances have shifted from traditional Chinese theatre to pop song and dance. Performers dressed in skimpy outfits would sometimes take stage and belt out an imitation of the latest Chinese pop hits. Politicians have questioned the need for the skimpy outfits in national papers. “Do the ghosts want to watch skimpy outfits? Anyway, there are young children in the audience who need not be exposed to so much bare skin.”
“Ok ok, I’ll not mention these anymore,” Lu Ming said, to please his friends. He was only trying to tell them that the odd flicker of lights are due to power supply fluctuations…
Author’s note- Please pardon grammatical errors or typographical errors. This was done in 30 minutes.