Saturday, 28 September 2013

【Penang Event】The Burning Ritual Of The Biggest God Of Hades Statue | Hungry Ghost Festival

大山脚埠众盂兰胜会之火化大士爷
Hungry Ghost Festival at Bukit Mertajam

At the beginning of the Chinese Hungry Ghost Festival, the urn masters will bring the urns to the celebrated location and then a ritual will be performed to invite the God of Hades to that place. And during the end of the Chinese Hungry Ghost Festival, the God of Hades will be sent back to where he came from. This is done by burning the paper statue of the God of Hades. In some case where there are no paper statue of God of Hades, they will just simply burn the joss papers.

In order to witness the burning of the Malaysia's biggest paper statue of the God of Hades, me and my friends have decided to  stay overnight at the nearby Summit Hotel. When we reached there, it was already crowded with people.

大山脚埠众盂兰胜会之火化大士爷

People are praying the God of Hades.

大山脚埠众盂兰胜会之火化大士爷

This is the censer of the God of Hades. People believed that the smoke emitted from the censer is said to be blessing the people touching it.

大山脚埠众盂兰胜会之火化大士爷
大山脚埠众盂兰胜会之火化大士爷
大山脚埠众盂兰胜会之火化大士爷

In front of the God of Hades there is an opera show going on. This opera show is somehow special to me as they are performing on the ground whereby they are surrounded by the audiences rather than performing on the stage.

大山脚埠众盂兰胜会之火化大士爷
大山脚埠众盂兰胜会之火化大士爷

To the not far left is a bunch of silver gold joss paper and the colour joss paper. Above the joss paper there are two piece of wood planks. These two planks serve as the lane for the paper statue of God of Hades to steadily move above the joss papers. In front of these joss papers are the Mountain of Gold and Silver and some paper offerings for burning.

大山脚埠众盂兰胜会之火化大士爷

About 9pm, the road that will be passed by the God of Hades is being clear.

大山脚埠众盂兰胜会之火化大士爷

Prayers are starting to ignite the joss stick.

大山脚埠众盂兰胜会之火化大士爷

People are waiting for the God of Hades to make it's move.

大山脚埠众盂兰胜会之火化大士爷

The worker are taking down the Goddess Guan Yin on the head of the God of Hades.

大山脚埠众盂兰胜会之火化大士爷

Then is to take down the pennant at the left hand of the God of Hades. This is to make sure that the God of Hades can reach the burning place unharmed.

大山脚埠众盂兰胜会之火化大士爷

After the Taoist finished chanting, prayers are moving forward to the burning place.

大山脚埠众盂兰胜会之火化大士爷

Both side of the God of Hades is being tied by a big and rough ropes. The workers are pulling these two ropes together to bring out the God of Hades at a very fast pace towards the burning place.

大山脚埠众盂兰胜会之火化大士爷

Due to the fast pace of the God of Hades, the prayers are running quite fast towards the burning place. That time, I was a bit confuse because I didn't expect it to be this fast.

大山脚埠众盂兰胜会之火化大士爷

Pretty soon, the God of Hades has set foot on the mountain of joss papers.

大山脚埠众盂兰胜会之火化大士爷

After placing all the paper offerings, a fire is set to burn the God of Hades.

大山脚埠众盂兰胜会之火化大士爷

Soon, the fire has reached half of the body of the God of Hades.

大山脚埠众盂兰胜会之火化大士爷
大山脚埠众盂兰胜会之火化大士爷

And it is now burning the whole body.

大山脚埠众盂兰胜会之火化大士爷

Lastly, the paper statue of God of Hades is no more.

大山脚埠众盂兰胜会之火化大士爷

Due to the strong flame and the heat emitted, the workers are using the wooden board to protect the prayers.

大山脚埠众盂兰胜会之火化大士爷
大山脚埠众盂兰胜会之火化大士爷

Prayers are praying at the surroundings.

大山脚埠众盂兰胜会之火化大士爷

The joss papers are still burning despite it is being watered by the fireman.

大山脚埠众盂兰胜会之火化大士爷

After the burning ritual, it is now to send the God of Hades' urn to the urn master house.

大山脚埠众盂兰胜会之火化大士爷

This is the God of Hades' censer.

大山脚埠众盂兰胜会之火化大士爷

There are fireworks displaying on the halfway.

大山脚埠众盂兰胜会之火化大士爷

The urn at the middle is the God of Hades' urn.

大山脚埠众盂兰胜会之火化大士爷

This is the most front of the group.

大山脚埠众盂兰胜会之火化大士爷

The urn master is waiting the God of Hades' urn in front of his house.

大山脚埠众盂兰胜会之火化大士爷

The urn master is the one that is holding the God of Hades' urn.

大山脚埠众盂兰胜会之火化大士爷

Then is to put the urn to it's place.

大山脚埠众盂兰胜会之火化大士爷

After that the prayers can go to pray the God of Hades.

大山脚埠众盂兰胜会之火化大士爷

And this is the end of the ritual. Everybody is enjoying the food prepared by the urn master and watching the opera show.

大山脚埠众盂兰胜会之火化大士爷

And I have had the first tin of beer in my life!

After participating in this ceremony, I have learnt the power of the religion. It has made people unite and it has made people doing good deed. Seeing so many people working hard together in order to successfully carry out the Chinese Hungry Ghost Festival, and seeing so many people willingly to walk so far a distance together, it really has touch the bottom of my heart.

All of this is because of believe.


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This post was originally written on 28th August 2013

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