Sun, Aug 14, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Taiwan celebrates a busy Ghost Festival weekend

Staff Writer, with CNA

Elaborate ceremonies and pop concerts have been launched across the nation to “satiate hungry ghosts,” or “good brethren,” during the Ghost Festival weekend.

Starting yesterday evening, the country’s famous Keelung Mid-Summer Ghost Festival went into full swing with a street parade of floats decorated with giant lanterns.

The lanterns, each inscribed with a family name to bless the offspring, were scheduled to be released into the sea at about midnight last night to show water ghosts the way to the offerings that have been laid out for them on land.

The Liu-Tung-Tu family association, which is hosting the festival this year, said it hoped thousands of spectators would attend the celebrations.

Also this weekend, the nation’s largest charity, the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation, holds four free performances that interpret the sutras at Taipei Arena in Taipei City.

With more than 2,000 singing and dancing Tzu Chi followers depicting Buddhist-associated images, such as water drops and lotuses, the presentations are aimed at encouraging personal introspection during the Ghost Festival, according to Tzu Chi.

“By repenting, our minds become purified, and thus we can further give rise to a heart of goodness,” Tzu Chi founder Dharma Master Cheng Yen (證嚴法師) said.

In Yunlin County, the festival takes on a pop-culture flavor, as more than five punk and metal bands have been invited to “rock the dead” at the Huwei Township Ghost Festival today.

Lee Ming-yue (李明岳), director of the county’s cultural affairs, said he hoped the Halloween-like celebrations would appeal to the younger generation.

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