Monday, September 6, 2010

Taiwanese Traditions: Ghost Month 2: Ghost Day

This parade wandered past our house, recently. Emily and I jumped on the scooter to follow the parade and get some footage. The parade was part of the Ghost Month festival. As I said in the last post the Ghost month takes place during the month of July (lunar Calendar.)

July 15th (lunar) is called Ghost day or the Ghost Festival. This is the day when hell and heaven are opened and the dead come back to the earth. It is a day of worship of the ancestors. The Ghost day parade was interesting because it had aspects to it that I hadn’t seen before.

There were a number of trucks that had racks of lanterns on them. The lanterns are used to direct the Ghosts so that they can find their ay back to their families. There were also a lot of paper houses those houses were sold to people to be burned as an offering their their ancestors. It will provide a home for them in the other world.

Throughout the parade route the vehicles would stop the lantern racks raised and fireworks were lit. The fire works were sometimes launched from moving trucks as the vehicles traveled the parade route. Fireworks are a form of worship and are often included in festival activities.

I don’t know what the story is of the singer at the end of the video. She is always featured in these “Temple Parades,” (including funerals). Sometimes she sings current popular Taiwanese pop songs and sometimes this kind of traditional Chinese song. The horns are an interesting traditional instrument. They sound like bagpipes but are small, recorder like horns. I think the sound is interesting.

Thanks to our companion video blog, Glimpses of Taiwan (, for video footage. Glimpses of Taiwan features short (15 seconds to 1 minute) videos of day to day life in Taiwan. An abbreviated version of this video will be available there soon.

Other posts you may be interested in:

Taiwanese Traditions:  Ghost Month
Taiwanese Traditions: Walking the god

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