Hungry Ghost Festival is one of the must celebrate festival among Chinese traditional culture especiallyin Penang. During the Chinese calendar 7th month, regarded as the Ghost Month, in which ghosts and spirits, including those of the deceased ancestors, come out from the lower realm.

In many religious traditions, hell is a place of suffering and punishment in the afterlife. So, when the gates of hell are opened to free the hungry ghosts who then wander to seek food on Earth. Some even think that the ghosts would seek revenge on those who had wronged them in their lives. The reason why the Chinese celebrate this festival is to remember their dead family members and pay tribute to them. They also feel that offering food to the deceased appeases them and wards off bad luck.

Some interesting superstition about the festival are it is bad to go swimming during the 7th month as they think that an evil ghost might cause you to drown in the swimming pool and children are also advised to return home early and not to wander around alone at night which believed that the wandering ghosts might possess children. There is why we have King of Hades to ensure the ghost released won't misbehave during the time they on the earth.

There is a giant effigy King of Hades (Phor Thor Kong, Da Shi Ye, Tai Su Ya) was located at Jalan Pasar, Bukit Mertajam. This giant effigy with height 7.9m is also the tallest King of Hades in Malaysia which the height can be increased every year and cannot be reduced.

The Hungry Ghost Festival celebration here held from the 3rd until 17th of Chinese lunar 7th month. The King of Hell will be placed majestically in front the main table. There are activities from morning till late night, include preparing ritualistic food offerings, burning incense, and burning joss paper, a papier-mache form of material items such as clothes, gold and other fine goods for the visiting spirits of the ancestors.

There is an old Tua Pek Kong Temple just beside where the King of Hades located. Normally, people will pray for Tua Pek Kong first followed by the King of Hades.


They also organize free stage performances - traditional opera to appease and entertain the souls. Exclude the modern ko tai (singing and dancing) performances as others area due to the crowded people causing the traffic jammed. Everyone is invited but please refrain from sitting on the bright red benches (usually placed right in front of the stage) as these are purposely left empty for the “special guests”!

During the last day 17th, many preparation of sending King of Hades back to hell were arranged. Starting from noon, moving out the big incense, placed a side the papier-mache form of material items such as clothes, gold and other fine goods, clear out the joss selling stall.

During evening, sand as a base to protect the surface of the road was loaded at the Jalan Pasar junction. Followed by placing on the papier-mache form of material items from bottom - ‘money’ until top - cloths. These moving jobs using human one by one to place the papier-mache and money until it was cleared at about 9pm.

Meanwhile, a last opera performance was held in front of the king before sending him back.

At about 10pm, after everything ready, they slowly pulled out the King of Hades and placed him on top of the sand. Then, execration job from Taoist Priest was performance for sending the king back to hell.

After the priest done the execration, burning (in Chinese call Sending) started from the giant effigy King of Hades slowly until the bottom papier-mache. The direction in which the effigy falls would indicate whether the coming year would be a prosperous one. They will leave it for 3 days to burn all the papier-mache before clear it. 

There is a story get related with this colourful Hungry Ghost Festival, which is  about "Bok Lean Kwee Boo" or Mu Lian saves his mother. This tale has been told over and over again when I was young. The moral as always is be filial and respectful of one's parents. In this story Bok Lean or Mu Lian goes all out to save his mother.

 

 

 

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The Moon Festival, also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, Lantern Festival, Mooncake Festival, Zhongqiu Festival, or in Chinese, Zhongqiujie or in Vietnamese "Tết Trung Thu", is a popular harvest festival celebrated by Chinese and Vietnamese people, dating back over 3,000 years to moon worship in China's Shang Dynasty. It was first called Zhongqiu Jie (literally "Mid-Autumn Festival") in the Zhou Dynasty. It was first called Zhongqiu Jie (literally "Mid-Autumn Festival") in the Zhou Dynasty.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is held on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese calendar, which is usually around late September or early October. It is a date that parallels the autumnal equinox of the solar calendar, when the moon is supposedly at its fullest and roundest. The traditional food of this festival is the moon cake, of which there are many different varieties.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the few most important holidays in the Chinese calendar in several countries. Farmers celebrate the end of the summer harvesting season on this date. Traditionally on this day, Chinese family members and friends will gather to admire the bright mid-autumn harvest moon, and eat moon cakes and pomelos under the moon together.

 

 

Story 1

One day, all ten of the suns circled together, causing the Earth to burn. Emperor Yao, the Emperor of China, commanded Houyi to use his archery skill to shoot down all but one of the suns. Upon completion of his task, the Emperor rewarded Houyi with a pill that granted eternal life. Emperor Yao advised Houyi not to swallow the pill immediately but instead to prepare himself by praying and fasting for a year before taking it. Houyi took the pill home and hid it.

One day, Houyi was summoned away again by Emperor Yao. During her husband's absence, Chang'e swallowed the pill of immortality because Peng, one of Houyi's many apprentice archers, tried to force her to give the pill to him. Knowing that she could not fight off Peng, Chang'e had no choice but to swallow the pill herself. After swallowed, she float and flew to the moon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Story 2

The Hare or The Jade Rabbit
A depiction of Chang'e and the Jade Rabbit

According to tradition, the Jade Rabbit pounds medicine, together with the lady, Chang'er, for the gods. Others say that the Jade Rabbit is a shape, assumed by Chang'e herself. The dark areas to the top of the full moon may be construed as the figure of a rabbit. The animal's ears point to the upper right, while at the left are two large circular areas, representing its head and body.

In this legend, three fairy sages transformed themselves into pitiful old men, and begged for food from a fox, a monkey, and a hare. The fox and the monkey both had food to give to the old men, but the hare, empty-handed, jumped into a blazing fire to offer his own flesh instead. The sages were so touched by the hare's sacrifice and act of kindness that they let him live in the Moon Palace, where he became the "Jade Rabbit".

 

 

 

Story 3

According to a widespread folk tale (not necessarily supported by historical records), the Mid-Autumn Festival commemorates an uprising in China against the Mongol rulers of the Yuan Dynasty (1280–1368) in the 14th century. As group gatherings were banned, it was impossible to make plans for a rebellion. Noting that the Mongols did not eat moon cakes, Liu Bowen (劉伯溫) of Zhejiang Province, an adviser to the Chinese rebel leader Zhu Yuanzhang, came up with the idea of timing the rebellion to coincide with the Mid-Autumn Festival. He sought permission to distribute thousands of moon cakes to the Chinese residents in the city to bless the longevity of the Mongol emperor. Inside each cake, however, was inserted a piece of paper with the message: "Kill the Mongols on the 15th day of the 8th month" (traditional Chinese: 八月十五殺韃子; simplified Chinese: 八月十五杀鞑子).

On the night of the Moon Festival, the rebels successfully attacked and overthrew the government. What followed was the establishment of the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), under Zhu. Henceforth, the Mid-Autumn Festival was celebrated with moon cakes on a national level.

 

Accompanying the celebration, there are additional cultural or regional customs, such as:
- Putting pomelo rinds on one's head
- Carrying brightly lit lanterns, lighting lanterns on towers, floating sky lanterns
- Burning incense in reverence to deities including Chang'e
- Fire Dragon & Lion Dances
- Drink tea and enjoy the moon light
- Enjoy moon cake
- Riddle guessing game

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Hari Raya Idul Fitri or Hari Raya Puasa. Hari Raya literally means 'Celebration Day'. Hari Raya Aidilfitri is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting (sawm). This holiday symbolizes the purification after completing the fasting month which is after the end of the Islamic month of Ramadan, on the first day of Shawwal.

Muslims are commanded by the Qur'an to complete their fast on the last day of Ramadan and then recite the Takbir all throughout the period of Eid (an Arabic word meaning "festivity"). 

Typically, Muslims wake up relatively early in the morning—always before sunrise— offer Salatul Fajr, clean one's teeth with a Miswaak or a brush, take a shower (Gosul) after Fajr, put on new clothes or the best available, and apply perfume.

Eid al-Fitr marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. This has to do with the communal aspects of the fast, which expresses many of the basic values of the Muslim community. Fasting is believed by some scholars to extol fundamental distinctions, lauding the power of the spiritual realm, while acknowledging the subordination of the physical realm.

Shopping malls and bazaars are filled with people days ahead of Idul Fitri, causing a distinctive festive atmosphere throughout the country and traffic mayhem. Many banks, government and private offices are closed for the duration of the Idul festivities, known collectively as the Lebaran.

One of the largest temporary human migrations globally, is the prevailing custom of the Lebaran  where workers, particularly unskilled migrants labourers such as maids and construction labourers return to one's home town or city and ask forgiveness from ones' parents, in-laws and elders. This is known as mudik, pulang kampung or in Malaysian balik kampung.

The night before Idul Fitri is filled with the sounds of many muezzin singing the takbir held in the mosques or mushollahs. Especially in rural areas, pelita or panjut or lampu colok (oil lamps, similar to tiki torches) are lit up and placed outside and around the house. Special dishes like ketupat, dodol, lemang (a type of glutinous rice cake cooked in bamboo) and other Indo-Malay (and in the case of Malaysia, also Nyonya) delicacies are served during this day.

It is common to greet people with "Selamat Idul Fitri" or "Salam Aidilfitri" (in Malaysia) which means "Happy Eid". Muslims also greet one another with "maaf zahir dan batin" which means "Forgive my physical and emotional (wrongdoings)", because Idul Fitri is not only for celebrations but a time for atonement: to ask for forgiveness for sins which they may have committed but was cleansed as a result of the fasting in the Muslim month of Ramadan.

It is customary for Muslims to wear a traditional cultural costume on Idul Fitri. For male, baju Melayu, shirt worn with a sarong known as kain samping and a headwear known as songkok. For female, Baju Kurung and baju kebaya, a loose-fitting blouse (which may be enhanced with brocade and embroidery).

Once the prayer is completed, it is common for Muslims to visit the graves of loved ones. During this visit, they clean the grave, recite Ya-Seen, a chapter (sura) from the Qur'an and also perform the tahlil ceremony. All these are done to ask God to forgive the dead and also those who are living for all their sins.

The rest of the day is spent visiting relatives or serving visitors. Idul Fitri is a very joyous day for children as the adults give them money. They also celebrate by lighting traditional bamboo cannon firecrackers known as meriam bambu Ramadhan, using kerosene in large hollow bamboo tubes or Chinese imported crackers. The traditional bamboo cannon, meriam bambu are notoriously loud and can be very dangerous to operator, bystander and even nearby buildings.

In Malaysia, children will be given token sums of money, also known as "duit raya" (literally "celebration money"), from their parents or elders.

 

 

 

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The Nine Emperor Gods Festival (Chinese: 九皇爺Jiu Wang Ye ) is a nine-day Chinese celebration observed primarily in Southeast Asian countries like Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand, also Riau Islands.

The nine emperors gods actually refers to the " Jiu Huang Da Di 九皇大帝" (The Nine Great Emperors) in the Daoist deities system (Daoist Patheon). The birth of the nine emperors happened to be on the 9th of September in the chinese lunar calendar, and this day was often celebrated as the festival of "Jiu Huang 九皇" by the Daoist in Singapore and Malaysia.

The nine emperor gods are very often known as "Bei Dou Jiu Xing 北斗九星" (9 north star plough Gods), since they are gods of the stars or planets. Their mother, "Dou Mu Yuan Jun 斗姆元君" (Mother north star), is also the mother of stars. The nine emperor gods consist of the following:

1. "Gou Chen Tian Huang Da Di 勾陈天皇大帝" (Vega Star) 
2. "Bei Ji Zhi Wei Da Di 北极紫微大帝" (Polaris Star) 
3. The 7 Northern Constellation Stars (called "Bei Dou Qi Xing 北斗七星"): 
a. "Tan Lang 贪狼" 
b. "Ju Meng 巨门" 
c. "Lu Chun 禄存" 
d. "Wen Qu 文曲" 
e. "Lian Zhen 廉贞" 
f. "Wu Qu 武曲" 
g. "Po Jun 破军"

 

The 7 Northern Constellation Stars. The origin of the nine emperor gods can be traced back to the Daoist worship of the northern constellation during Qin and Han dynasty (北斗崇祀). Actually, the observation and worshipping of stars had already been present among the public before Daoism religion was founded during han dynasty. As daoist religion was developed during han dynasty, it began to absorb this practice of worshipping the stars and began to deitify them as gods.

What, then, is the myth underlying the Festival of the Nine Emperor Gods? There are, in fact, many written and unwritten versions of the Nine Emperor Gods myth, the former transmitted in texts and scriptures and the latter in various regional oral traditions in Malaysia and other parts of Peninsular Southeast Asia.

On the eve of the ninth moon, temples of the deities hold a ceremony to invoke and welcome the nine emperors. Since the arrival of the gods are believed to be through the waterways, processions are held from temples to the sea-shore or river to symbolize this belief. Devotees dressed in traditional white, carrying incense and candles, await the arrival of their excellencies.

 

Donation & praying for Nine Emperor Gods...

 

A carnival-like atmosphere pervades the temple throughout the nine-day festival. During this period of time, the constant tinkling of a prayer bell and chants from the temple priests are heard. Most devotees stay at the temple, eat vegetarian meals and recite continuous chanting of prayer. It is believed that there will be rain throughout the nine days of celebration.

There are some pray activities planned among these nine days. Each day has different pray activity especially during night.

 

Hot Oil Praying Activity:

 

 


 

Procession around Bukit Mertajam town at night and followed by devotees included children and others race - Indian to join started from the procession until the end. The decorated cars came from different temple and has its own beautiful decoration.

 

 

Video: Procession at 10.10.10 Sunday night around Bukit Mertajam town.

Others activity photo will be added soon.

The ninth day of the festival is its climax. A procession which draws scores of devotees send the deities to the beach and send back to the stars.

 

 

 

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