June 24, 2008

260807 中元节 Hungry Ghosts Festival - 5 一殿秦广王

十殿冥王 Shi Dian Ming Wang, the ten Kings of Hell, are 'judges' who preside over courts that mete out punishment for different types of sins. The wording on the paintings are written from right to left, & in 繁體字 traditional style characters. Poor quality of the following photos are due to the thickness of incense smoke within the closed up tent, & lack of light (not too polite to use flash photography in hell?) & tripod.

"一殿秦廣王" - 秦广王 King Qin Guang is in charge of the 第一殿 first court:


Hei Wu Chang (bottom left) chains up & brings the souls of all who have sinned to this court:


Severity of the punishment depends on the sins committed, & one who has done as much good as bad may be sent directly to the tenth court where (s)he will be reborn. One's sins are all reflected in the 孽镜台 Nie Jing Tai (Mirror of Consequence of Sin?):


"二殿楚江王" - 楚江王 King Chu Jiang oversees the 第二殿 second court, which deals with murderers:


June 22, 2008

260807 中元节 Hungry Ghosts Festival - 4 Hell

Behind the black curtains, shielded from daylight - hell...presided over by 城隍爷 Cheng Huang Ye or 'City God':


With offerings of Otard cognac & Guinness Stout:


城隍爷 has 黑无常 Hei Wu Chang on his right:


& 白无常 Bai Wu Chang on his left:


More on 城隍爷, 黑无常 & 白无常 here. The three of them are flanked by 牛头 Cow Head & 马面 Horse Face:


These two are in charge of seizing & bringing ghosts down to hell. Cow Head supposedly hunts down escaped ghosts, while Horse Face deals with wayward ghosts who have caused trouble.

All five are surrounded by paintings depicting the 十殿冥王 ten Kings of Hell...

260807 中元节 Hungry Ghosts Festival - 3 大士爷

大士爷 the King of Hades, is one of the many forms taken by the Goddess of Mercy (aka. 观音 Guan Yin & Avalokiteśvara). During the 7th month of the Lunar Year, the gates of hell are opened to allow ghosts to wander in the human world, & 大士爷 controls them to keep them from causing trouble for the living.


大士爷 is usually depicted with blue skin, hence the blue hands. Not sure why his face is covered up:


At the end of the ceremonies this paper effigy of 大士爷 will be burnt as part of a send off for him.

Banquet tables for invisible diners, complete with plates & cutlery & a set of clothes & shoes on every seat:


Pink puppet theatre for dinner entertainment:


Coming up next - what lies behind the black curtains on the left...

260807 中元节 Hungry Ghosts Festival - 2

Entire ship-load of paper money:


Not sure what these boxes contain, & why they are labelled as 男 (male) or 女 (female):


More cash...


...at an altar for 玉皇上帝 the Jade Emperor of Heaven aka. 天公:


On the right is a stalk of sugarcane tied to side of the altar...


...which has something to do with a story of how Hokkiens escaped from invading Mongols by hiding among sugarcane plants. Hokkiens set up altars to bai tii kong (拜天公) & welcome him to earth on the 8th day of the Lunar New Year.

260807 中元节 Hungry Ghosts Festival - 1

Marine Parade Central, directly across from Parkway Parade shopping mall:


Not-so-giant giant incense sticks with names of sponsors at the base:


They used to be a few metres tall & could burn for ages, but shorter ones are now used to reduce air pollution.

Clothes, shoes, toys, snacks, milk, Yakult, Hello Panda, laptop computer & game console, etc...


...for 男女幼鬼, the souls of deceased children:


For the souls of deceased adults, including fire starters for the charcoal stove: