Discover the Origins and Practices Behind the Zhongyuan Festival

Zhongyuan Festival, also known as Hungry Ghost Festival in English, falls on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month.

In Singapore, it is observed for the whole month as it is believed that the gates of hell are opened and spirits are free to wander during this period. The festival “peaks” at the 15th day, which is also 2 September 2020 this year.

We know that there are a lot of Dos and Don’ts during this CB period. But do you know there is also a lot of Dos and Don’ts during Zhongyuan Festival too? Why? To encourage a better appreciation of our distinctive Chinese Singaporean culture, the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre (SCCC) has launched a series of programmes that highlight some of the customs and traditions practised during this month-long festival. Some that may even be new to you so be sure to join them in the programmes.

You can make a mobile Getai to uncover the beliefs and superstitions surrounding the festival, or glean insights on how the Zhongyuan Festival is observed by the local community, and discover how it has evolved in Singapore through two engaging videos spotlighting the heritage of Zhongyuan Festival.

In a choose-your-own-adventure interactive game, find out more about the different festival taboos with SCCC interactive game Zhongyuan Festival Dos and Don’ts – from whistling at night to sitting at the front row of Getai concerts.

Fun fact: Do you know that you are not supposed to sit at the front row of Getai concerts as they are reserved for the wandering spirits?

You can get the answers to all your questions in the game. If you chose the wrong option, the spirits will kindly explain it to you at the end of the game.

Fun fact: Do you know that both the Taoists and Buddhists observe this festival, but each with a different significance.

Taoists rites and offerings focus on appeasing wandering souls as it is believed that the Earth Official (Diguan Dadi) wanders our world during the festival to record the good and evil deeds of each person. For Buddhists, Zhongyuan is also known as Ullambana or Yulanpen Festival which emphasises filial piety. The festival traces its origin to the story of Mulian who sought Buddha’s help to end his mother’s suffering in the afterlife with offerings of food.

SCCC will be holding an upcoming Livestream showcase on 4 September 2020, 8pm, will feature a Getai Special. You can enjoy engaging performances by Getai veterans and next-generation rising stars like Lee Pei Fen, Hao Hao and Desmond Ng, who will be going online to perform familiar hits for audiences to enjoy.

If you would like to play the game or find out more, please click here.

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