A hallowed out of pumpkin with face cut is one of the traditions of Halloween.
Halloween is a famous festival in western countries on October 31st, which is one night of the year when ghosts, witches, and fairies are especially active. Modern Halloween has become less about literal ghosts and ghouls and more about costumes and candy. Recent years it’s been getting popular in many oriental countries such as China, Japan and Thailand. However, we do have a completely different ‘ghost festival’ in China, which is more serious compare to western Halloween.
One of my classmates — Hani Richter, who is studying second year Journalism course in the London College of Communication, has interviewed me about the differences of ghost festival between western countries and China.
The Chinese ghost festival is called the Hungry Ghost Festival, also known as the Zhongyuan Festival, which is celebrated on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month. The exact date is normally between July and August each year depends on traditional Chinese calendar. It is believed that the Gates of Hell are opened once a year during the Hungry Ghost Festival and all the lost and hungry ghosts of hell are free to roam the living world. Children has many restrictions in Hungry Ghost Festival; for instance, parents would keep them at home after sunset and they are not allowed to go out. The reason for this is because there is a superstition that all the ghosts would come to the human world at that night, and children would easily get scared by the ghost. Even adults rarely go out at that evening.
To appease these lost souls and to prevent them from causing the living harm, people put food out for the ghosts to enjoy. Elaborate ceremonies and rituals are also performed to please the ghosts. Burning joss stick is also one of our custom, too, which is very usual and common in Chinese fiestas.
A hallowed out of pumpkin with face cut must be one of the traditions of Halloween. The tradition of dressing in custom for Halloween has both European and Celtic roots. On Halloween, when it was believed that ghost came back to the earthly world, people thought that they would encounter ghost if they left their homes. To avoid being recognized by these ghosts, people would wear masks when they left their homes after dark so that the ghost would mistake them for fellow spirits.
As we can see here, from the phenomenon of staying at home and going outside, there is a huge difference between these two cultures.
Last year was the first Halloween I have celebrated as I went abroad to Britain. Two things I have noticed most in the Halloween. Firstly, I’ve seen many people did the make-up of scared faces, such like putting blood on their faces. The second thing is there are plenty of children knocked my door in Halloween and asked me ‘Trick or treat!?’ For me western is more funny compare to China.
Want to find out more? Check the audio!
If you have any problem in listening the interview, click here! Halloween Audio Interview
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