The 7th month of the Chinese lunar calendar is referred to as the Hungry Ghost month. On the first of the month the king of hell releases all the spirits to roam the earth. It’s on this night that the local Chinese burn all kinds of pretend paper money to keep these ghost content over the next year. Many of the bills are labeled “Hell notes”. It’s not limited to burning money, small pieces of paper with images of clothing and everyday items like food, make-up and even scissors are tossed into the fire to keep the spirits happy. It’s all made out of paper, so you might wonder, how are the dead going to take it with them? Easy, they burn it and it disappears and goes into the other realm.
22 imagesHungry Ghost month is full of performances of puppet shows and Chinese opera around Penang. They perform them at temples and on the street. I photographed a Teo Chew Puppet Show, perform by the Goh family. They acted out five stories and performed all the voices and music — a very talented family.
67 imagesThe Chinese opera is a popular event around Penang during Hungry Ghost. The performers are often brought in from Taiwan to perform throughout the country.In this gallery you'll find two separate performances photograph.
17 imagesOn the 1st night of the seventh lunar month in the Chinese calendar it is believed that the king of hell release the soles of the dead to roam the earth. They make fires on the street corners feed with paper money and other objects to appease the spirits. They have special prayer times at the temples and in front of their businesses for good fortune. Then on the 15th day the king of hell commands the spirits to return and more fires and offerings of burnt on the street as the spirits return to hell.
19 imagesWithin several days of the 15th day of the Chinese lunar month called hungry ghostsCommunities gather together and burn and effigy of the king of hell. It is done with great celebration as they parade through their community and then place the paper statue on a bed of golden notes, light it and send him back to hell.