Posts Tagged ‘Taoism’

POTD: Barrels for burning incense papers in housing estates

Saturday, September 7th, 2013

Photo of the Day: You know those burner barrels that taoists and the Chinese use in housing estates to burn incense papers when they pray?

How do these barrels mysteriously appear at the beginning of the hungry ghost festival (or other major pray dates) and then disappear at the end?

Mystery solved! I was having dinner in the evening when I spotted these two workers rounding up these burner barrels. I had the D5200 with me so I snatched a quick snapshot as they went by into the dusk. Photo taken with a Nikon D5200 with NIKKOR 18-55mm kit lens. Photo credit: John Tan.

Mystery solved! I was having dinner in the evening when I spotted these two workers rounding up these burner barrels. I had the D5200 with me so I snatched a quick snapshot as they went by into the dusk. Photo taken with a Nikon D5200 with NIKKOR 18-55mm kit lens. Photo credit: John Tan.

These burning barrels were refurbished from oil barrels and are offered to offer a less messy alternative to burning incense paper in the open – where the ashes fly and spread everywhere when the wind blows.

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POTD: Phantoms at the Opera – or Hungry Ghost Festival Getai

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

The Phantom of the Opera is playing in town at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. But in many places in the heartlands, special front row seats have been specially reserved for the “real” hungry phantoms from Hell.

Special front row seats for some very special guests. All photos taken with a Nikon D5200 with AF-S NIKKOR 18-55mm DX f/3.5-5.6G VR kit lens. All the photos (except the one above which was taken at ISO 5000)  were taken at ISO 6400. Photo credit: John Tan.

Special front row seats for some very special guests. All photos taken with a Nikon D5200 with AF-S NIKKOR 18-55mm DX f/3.5-5.6G VR kit lens. All the photos (except the one above which was taken at ISO 5000) were taken at ISO 6400. Photo credit: John Tan.

So I was driving back from the Lenovo launch in town, and thinking of the Phantom of the Opera musical that the family was going to watch the next day.

The MC for the night is this fancifully dressed lady. Does she remind you of Liu Ling Ling in the local award-winning movie 881? That’s because it is Liu Ling Ling!

The MC for the night is this fancifully dressed lady. Does she remind you of Liu Ling Ling in the local award-winning movie 881? That’s because it is Liu Ling Ling!

Another performer for the night. Each singer performs a few songs, which may include requests from the audience and the residing deity of the temple organising the Getai.

Another performer for the night. Each singer performs a few songs, which may include requests from the audience and the residing deity of the temple organising the Getai.

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POTD: Paying respect & entertaining hungry ghosts from Hell

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

The seventh month on the Chinese lunar calendar is the ghost month, when the hungry ghosts from Hell are released to visit their relatives on earth – and get a good meal as well.

As the seventh lunar month approaches, huge marquees are set up in many places in preparation for festivities. All photos taken with a Nikon D5200 with AF-S NIKKOR 18-55mm DX f/3.5-5.6G VR kit lens. Photo credit: John Tan.

As the seventh lunar month approaches, huge marquees are set up in many places in preparation for festivities. All three photos taken with a Nikon D5200 with AF-S NIKKOR 18-55mm DX f/3.5-5.6G VR kit lens. Photo credit: John Tan.

Since this is the hungry ghost month, I will be featuring photos that I take during visits to celebratory activities surrounding the festival.

The festival has its origins from the buddhist scriptures and is celebrated by both Buddhist and Taoist believers in Asian countries such as China, Japan, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia etc.

An altar in the marquee pacifying the agents of Hell with offerings and (to the left) wads of Hell cash.

An altar in the marquee pacifying the agents of Hell with offerings and (to the left) wads of Hell cash.

The main theme is filial piety.

One of Buddha’s disciples visited his mother in hell and found her languishing as a “hungry ghost” (that’s a specific genre of ghost) which was perennially – what else – hungry.

She had apparently been stingy towards hosting Buddhist monks whilst indulging herself with the money that her son had left her.

As a punishment by the judges of hell, she was transformed into a hungry ghost after her death.

Buddha taught the son how to redeem his mother and the filial son succeeded after much effort to help his mother get reborn as a human.

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