Hungry Ghost Festival
In August, Chinese Singaporeans celebrate the Hungry Ghost Festival – an annual Chinese event observed by Taoists and Buddhists for spirits of the afterlife.
In Singapore, the festival is celebrated throughout the entire seventh lunar month, which is usually around the month of August in the Western calendar.
During this period, it is believed that the souls of the dead come from the afterlife to roam the earth to visit their loved ones. Chinese locals burn offerings to the deceased, spirits and also deities. Those come in the form of paper, including things like money, houses, cars, clothes and even masks to prevent Covid in the underworld.
Aside from food and offerings, you can also observe Getai performances. ‘Getai’ translates literally from Chinese as “song stage” and is a form of vernacular entertainment involving live performances of music, song and dance to entertain the spirits.
The front row seats are usually roped off and left vacant for a reason – they are the VIP seats specially reserved for the spirits as a form of respect. Under no circumstances should you sit on any of those seats to avoid offending the spirits.
In observance of the Ghost month, the Chinese observe a number of superstitions and beliefs, mainly focused on things that should be avoided such as not killing any live insects, not renovating your house, not getting married during this period, not wearing red or black clothes and much more.
Visit Singapore in August to experience this unique festival, you might even make some ‘new friends’ here.