There is more Ghostie Goodness related to the summer season, the ghost festivals of Asia are the Halloween equivalent times ten. Here are some more of these wonderful frightful festivals that go on during the summer nights. Baekjung is the Korean version of the Buddhist All Souls Day or Ullambana. Traditionally to celebrate people perform ceremonial rites to honor heaven and those whom have passed. Samsung-dong, Seoul, thousands of lanterns are hung during the eve of Baekjung in Bongeun Temple. Those regard this day as the second most important holiday after Buddha’s Birthday.
Ullambana evolved in Vietnam, instead of just lumping ghosts together into one festival it became the holiday Vu Lan and the festival Tet Trung Nguyen. Vu Lan is also a day to honor parents not just ancestors and wayward ghosts. What is even more interesting is Vu Lan is considered Vietnamese mothers day, a children when wear roses to show thanks to their mothers. Red roses are those for those with living mothers and white roses are for mothers that passed away.
Tet Trung Nguyen means Wandering Souls Day and it is the second largest festival celebrated in Vietnam. Just like Ullambana there is a goal to help those who have passed away. Those who are stuck in hell have a chance to have their sins absolved through prayers that the living make on this particular day. Vietnamese families will build offering trays filled with food, incense, joss paper gifts and leave them in front of their homes per chance that it will help pardoning guilty ghosts. The ghostly goody buffet includes roast pork, crabs, boiled chicken, sweet fruits, sticky rice cakes, vermicelli soup, and spring rolls. This is also a day of liberation for pets like birds or fish are set free in hopes it will bring luck. Ho Chi Minh City has a special attraction, people from all over will visit the Tree of Wandering Souls in the Giac Lam Pagoda. They leave prayer paper with the names of relatives on the tree to bring good health and fortune.
Parts of Thailand also have a version, Pee Ta Khon literally translates too the Ghost Festival. Pee Ta Khon is one celebration in a group that are called Bun Luang. Hosted throughout March and July, in several areas of the country, their dates are announced annually by local mediums. The first day people of the town assemble for a cultural ceremony where they ask the spirit of the mun river for protection. Once that ceremony ends they celebrate in masked and costumed procession. The costumes are made of local crops and fauna, rice husk masks and coconut leaves hat and lots of colorful patchwork clothing. They also wear bells to create noise, this goes back to a story where i Buddha was on a journey and presumed dead his return celebration was so rowdy it could wake the dead. Very strangly I learned locals during this festical wave wooden phallus’s around, NOW That’s spooky.
The Japanese call this festival O-bon, or Bon, again it is relative to the Buddhist event for commemorating the dearly departed. O-bon has recently evolved into family holiday where reunions take place. It is also celebrated during that August window, from the 13th to 15th. Lanterns are hung in front of houses to guide ancestors’ spirits on their journey and Bon Odori dances are performed to honor the sacrifice those whom have passed made. Graves are also visited at this time, and food offerings are made at house altars and local temples. Again these temple events are communal and boat lanterns are used as well.
The Japanese also celebrate Chūgen, also known as Ochūgen. Celebrated about a month earlier than Obon this holiday began to gift things to spirits but the present tradition is to give gifts to superiors and acquaintances. Its date of July 15th a takes place during one of the three days that form the sangen of Daoism. Sangen is a musical term related to the three strings of the Japanese instrument shamisen. This also is considered a Zassetsu, a section or part of seasonal days in the Japanese calendar.
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