How to worship during the Hungry Ghost Festival?

worship correctly during the Hungry Ghost Festival

According to the ancient legend, the Son of Heaven sacrificed new grains to the ancestral temples during the harvest season, which is during the 7th month of the lunar calendar, to pay homage to the ancestors. It was not until the Northern and Southern Dynasties that Buddhism became prevalent, and Buddhists made offerings to monks on the 15th day of the 7th month in accordance with the Yulanpen Sutra to dedicate merits to their parents, which was known as the "Yulanpen Buddhist Ritual". Later on, the Hungry Ghost Festival took on the name of Yulan Festival.

After the emergence of Taoism, according to “Xuan Du Da Xian Jing”, the 15th day of the 7th month is the day when the Earthly Official grants remission of sins. Hence, Taoist priests would make offerings of flowers and fruits, set up altars to recite sutras, perform pujas, and make ancestor offerings to pray for the forgiveness of sins of deceased ancestors as well as all deceased souls. With the prevalence of the Yulan Festival and the Taoist doctrine of forgiveness of sins by the Earthly Official, the original legend of Five Grains Offering to honour the ancestral temples has evolved into the Hungry Ghost Festival, which is a festival for the superannuation and feeding lost ghosts.

The main concern of the public must be, how to worship during the Taoist Hungry Ghost Festival and Buddhist Yulan Festival? The methods are as follows:

Worship the Deities: From 2pm to 4pm, set up table offerings such as biscuits, fruits, Three Sacrifices and Heavenly gold at the entrance of the house. The chief worshipper lights three incense sticks and others light one. When the incense is burnt to two-thirds, grab the joss paper, and burn it after three bows.

Worship the ancestors: Before 11 a.m., table offerings are placed in front of the ancestral tablets, such as cooked food dishes, fruits, Three Sacrifices, tea, joss paper, and large silver paper, and three sticks of incense are lit to pray to the ancestors for peace of the family. When the incense burns to two-thirds, grab the joss paper, and burn it after three bows.

Worshipping “Good Brothers”: from 2pm to 6pm, in front of the house or an outdoor space, offerings are prepared with biscuits, cooked food dishes, fruits and so on. In this case, use small silver paper, insert a stick of incense on each food, and then burn the small silver paper.

#万富    #继承传统

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