Today is the first day of Ghost Festival in my homeland. It is said to have Buddhist origins, but it has undergone cultural transformation as it passed through various Asian countries. To my people, it is a four-day period during which the gate between this world and the afterworld is opened and the alive spend time with the dead, especially with the ghosts of ancestors.
On the first day, we light up candles (these days, it is usually replaced with electrical lanterns for safety reasons) in our houses as “welcome fire” to indicate to the ghosts where to come home, and send horses and cows to bring them and their luggage to us… made of seasonal vegetables!
Cucumber horse and eggplant cow I sent to welcome my ancestors… oops, forgot the lanterns!
During the four days, we aim to keep the ghosts fully entertained with an abundance of food and dance and music all night, so that when the time comes for them to return to the afterworld at the end of the period, they can rest assured they will continue to be remembered by us and will not feel the need to overstay and haunt.
It will be the first Ghost Festival for my people in the regions affected by the big earthquakes nearly four months ago. On the one hand, many cemeteries were destroyed, throwing the ghosts out of their resting places. On the other hand, houses of many of their descendants have also been destroyed, and they will be going home to places they are not used to. So, to keep them from getting lost, I think this year they could use additional help with veggie animals to guide them back to their loved ones.
Maybe you can join me in sending veggie animals to my people?
As with all other previous get well messages which started with sending flower power, you do not have to do anything special or extraordinary. Only that, if you know of any veggies that you always thought looked like animals, you would kindly share it with my people.
Maybe you can take a snapshot of your veggie animals and post it on your site?
And maybe you can let me know by leaving a comment?
Once again, you need not go out of your way at all. But, let me just say, this may well be your opportunity to play with food without getting your parents upset! Just tell them it is for a good cultural cause – does our Ghost Festival not sound a little like an Eastern version of Halloween, with seasonal vegetables playing a key role in keeping the ghosts happy – and no veggies go to waste… they will all be turned into yummy foods and consumed when the Festival is over.
Thank you to everyone who visits here, and especially to those who came by in the past week, to read through my post(s). It is an important time for me, this time of the year every year, to face the ghosts of the past, whether they be of my own, my family’s, or my people’s. Maybe not everything I scribble is agreeable to you, but I am very grateful for your letting me voice them and taking the time to hear them out.