Friday, 12 August 2011

Hungry ghost festival 2011

For the past 11 days, I've been going to this place, a Taoist temple along Jalan Kampung Besar which is a narrow and busy road that connects the Kulim Road to Jalan Berapit. This temple is very popular with the locals who come here to consult the medium on all matters relating to health, wealth and whatever else. The first half of August was an especially busy month for this temple as it coincided with the start of the Chinese seventh lunar month and the Hungry Ghost festival. This is the very first time that I've been involved as a somewhat reluctant participant. Long story, which I will not want to air out.

Anyway, this is a typical Hungry Ghost festival. Facing the temple was a huge paper effigy of the King of Hades. How high is it, I had asked the temple's medium. About 15 or 16 feet, he answered. What about the other one in BM town near to the Tua Pek Kong Temple? That, he said, would be something like 26 or 27 feet. Impressively large, that one always qualify as the largest effigy in the state. It has become something of a tourist attraction.

The first day I went to the temple, I noticed that some men were putting sone finishing touches to a long and thick bamboo pole. Easily, I estimated, that pole might be some 80 to a hundred feet long. These guys were preparing to hoist it up. A long of patient work but at last, they were ready.

But first, the preliminary blessings must be done by the medium. So I just stepped back and watched him go about his task with the chantings and prayers.

And finally, the bamboo pole was ready for hoisting. A lot of heaving and hoing from the guys to secure the pole to a base beside the effigy. Once that was completed, the temple was ready for its Hungry Ghost celebration.

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