Thais oblige hungry ghosts during Chinese festival

Friday, 14 September 2012 From Issue Vol. XX No. 37 By  Vittaya Yoondorn

Pattaya’s Chinese-Thai residents celebrated the Chinese “Hungry Ghosts Festival” Aug. 31 with fireworks, food and fun.

The Sawang Boriboon Thammasathan Foundation in Naklua was the epicenter for the noisy celebrations, with families and friends lighting incense and praying for blessings from their deities while raising money for coffins for those without relatives.

As the ghosts would be hungry from their time in the underworld, people make offerings of fruit and meat, along with flowers.As the ghosts would be hungry from their time in the underworld, people make offerings of fruit and meat, along with flowers.

Celebrated on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month, the festival marks the day when hell’s doors open and ghosts take a month-long holiday among the living. Hungry from their time in the underworld, offerings of temperate fruit and meat are made, along with flowers.

The occasion also calls for ghosts to be given “hell money,” - facsimiles of real currency - which is later burned.

Thais of Chinese descent celebrated the day in Pattaya by heading to the market. There they found pork and chicken at normal prices, but orange honeysuckle and Chinese pears were suddenly much more expensive. Flowers, too, went up in price for the day.

Vendors claimed heavy rains in northern Thailand were responsible for the price increases, but skeptical ghost followers responded by simply buying less than last year.

At Sawang Boriboon Thammasathan Pattaya, Thai-Chinese pray for blessings from their deities while raising money for coffins for those without relatives.At Sawang Boriboon Thammasathan Pattaya, Thai-Chinese pray for blessings from their deities while raising money for coffins for those without relatives.

Naklua citizens burn silver and golden papers with the belief that this will light the way for spirits to make it to heaven.Naklua citizens burn silver and golden papers with the belief that this will light the way for spirits to make it to heaven.

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