Thai Culture

Learn Thai :Hungry Ghost Festival

By August 12, 2010March 16th, 2019No Comments

Hungry Ghost Festival in Thailand

The Hungry Ghost Festival is observed by Chinese communities across the world during the seventh lunar month when it is believed the gates of hell open and spirits are free to roam the earth. This year in Thailand Hungry Ghost Festival falls on 24th August.

Typically, a hungry ghost is deemed as a lost or disturbed soul. Unlike normal spirits, a hungry ghost is thought to have been greedy in life or to have been forgotten by his or her descendants. Others think that hungry ghosts may be the spirits of those who have died tragically, violently, or wrongfully and that they are, during the time of the seventh moon, able to seek revenge against those who have wronged them. In any case, according to Chinese custom, a hungry ghost is not something to be trifled with. On the seventh lunar month, hungry ghosts are released from whatever eternal torments they have suffered and are free to actively haunt or harass the living for up to a month-long period.

The festival has been held for more than 100 years. In some areas of Thailand, visitors can see small roadside fires, where believers burn fake money and make other offerings to the restless spirits and their ancestors in order to maintain balance and ensure that hungry ghosts will not attack them or members of their family. Special food such as roasted pig, bowls of rice, Chinese steamed cake is often prepared to feed the hungry ghosts, and Chinese opera and puppet shows are staged to appease decreased ancestors as well as restless ghosts who have no homes to return to.

At the end of the festival, people flow lotus flower-shaped water lanterns in the river to direct the souls of the dead back to the underworld. When the lanterns are out, it is believed that they have found their way back.

Learn Thai Festivals

Vocabulary (kam sàp)

คนจีน /kon-jiin/ = Chinese

นรก /na-rǒk/ = hell

วิญญาณ /wín-yaan/ = spirits

ผี /pii/ = ghost

ประเพณี /bprá-pě-nii/ = custom

เงิน /ngəən/ = money

ทำร้าย /tam-râai/ = attack

หิว /hiu/ = hungry

หมู /moo/ = pig

ตาย /taai/ = dead

As always, enjoy!

By Mod

Thai Language Teacher