SINGAPORE: During the Seventh Lunar Month, a period known as the Ghost Month, individuals engage in a ritual involving the burning of offerings within specially designated metal cages positioned outside housing estates and temples.
These offerings typically include paper money, incense candles, joss sticks, and intricate paper replicas of material possessions such as houses, cars, phones, and even clothing.
This act is believed to enable the departed to utilize these items in the afterlife.
Recently, a Facebook user, Daryl, shared a video through the Complaint Singapore page on 24 August, showcasing an observance of people carrying out rites for the Hungry Ghost Festival.
In the video’s caption, the user questioned the occurrence of dense black smoke during the burning, as they had previously only witnessed white smoke.
The video depicted the user burning offerings within an iron bin, though the specific location remained undisclosed.
Notably, the video captured thick black smoke billowing into the air.
Netizens reacted to the post with a variety of responses
Some explained that the presence of black smoke during the burning process was normal, while others provided insights into the combustion phases, highlighting that white smoke appears when the fire subsides.
Certain individuals noted that the bin’s contents extended beyond the customary paper offerings associated with the Hungry Ghost Month.
They pointed out the potential presence of discarded objects like plastic waste, which could contribute to the emission of black smoke.
Amidst the discussion, concerns were raised about the environmental implications of the ritualistic burning.
Critiques surfaced regarding the air pollution resulting from the practice, with comparisons drawn to the impact of daily smokers subjecting non-smokers to secondhand smoke.
Uncover the meaning behind Hungry Ghost Month
The Hungry Ghost Month, also known as Zhong Yuan Jie in Mandarin, is a traditional Chinese observance held during the seventh month of the lunar calendar.
This year, the festival began on 16 August, with Ghost Day slated for August 30, 2023.
The festival’s origin lies in the belief that during this period, the Gates of Hell open, permitting departed spirits to return to Earth.
Devotees, primarily from Buddhist and Taoist backgrounds, participate in the festival to pay homage to their ancestors and deceased loved ones.
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