Singapore, 19 August 2020 –
Zhongyuan Festival falls on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month. In Singapore, it is observed for the whole month as it is believed that the gates of hell are opened and spirits are free to wander during this period. This is why it is also popularly known as the Hungry Ghost Festival.
Both Taoists and Buddhists observe this festival, but each with a different significance.
Taoists rites and offerings focus on appeasing wandering souls as it is believed that the Earth Official (Diguan Dadi) wanders our world during the festival to record the good and evil deeds of each person. For Buddhists, Zhongyuan is also known as Ullambana or Yulanpen Festival which emphasises filial piety. The festival traces its origin to the story of Mulian who sought Buddha’s help to end his mother’s suffering in the afterlife with offerings of food.
To encourage better appreciation of our distinctive Chinese Singaporean culture, the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre has launched a series of programmes that highlight some of the customs and traditions practised during this month-long festival.
2 From learning how to make their own mobile getai to uncovering the beliefs and superstitions surrounding the festival, members of the public can glean insights on how the Zhongyuan Festival is observed by the local community, and discover how it has evolved in Singapore through two engaging videos spotlighting the heritage of Zhongyuan Festival.
3 In a choose-your-own-adventure interactive game, members of the public can find out more about the different festival taboos with the Centre’s interactive game Zhongyuan Festival Dos and Don’ts – from whistling at night, to sitting at the front row of getai concerts.
4 As part of the Centre’s regular TGIF Music Station series, its upcoming livestream showcase held on 4 September 2020, 8pm, will feature a Getai Special. The public can enjoy engaging performances by getai veterans and next-generation rising stars like Lee Pei Fen, Hao Hao and Desmond Ng, who will going online to perform familiar hits for audiences to enjoy.
5 The public can learn more about Zhongyuan Festival through the following programmes:
Zhongyuan Festival Dos and Don’ts” interactive game
Is it safe to whistle at night during the Zhongyuan Festival? Learn the Dos and Don’ts of Zhongyuan Festival in this choose-your-own-adventure interactive game. Take charge of how the story unfolds by making decisions for Xiao Ming as he goes on a run at night, and learn about the various taboos of this widely-observed festival along the way!
Keeping Traditions Alive: Making Mobile Mini Getai
Gather your craft materials, and learn how to make your very own mobile getai in four easy steps with this entertaining tutorial! Featuring Zijun, a young Singaporean whose family runs a mobile getai business, hear more about his experiences with this unusual profession, and learn his trade secrets!
Kaki Says: Zhongyuan Festival
Did you know that the Zhongyuan Festival is also associated with the Buddhist Yu Lan Pen Festival and the Taoist Lord of Earth’s birthday? Who are the ‘hungry ghosts’ and why are extravagant getai concerts held during this time? Find out more about the Zhongyuan Festival in this animated video – the different significance to Buddhists and Taoists, and learn more about the various practices observed by the Chinese community in Singapore.
TGIF Music Station: SCCC x YES 933 – Getai Special
周5音乐站：新加坡华族文化中心 X YES 933 – 特别歌台演出
4 September 2020, from 8pm
Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre Facebook
Sing along to popular tunes by homegrown talents, from the comfort of your home with TGIF Music Station: SCCC x YES 933! Look forward to an uproarious good time at the Getai Special featuring veterans Hao Hao, Lee Pei Fen, The Babes, Desmond Ng, Yang Guang Ke Le, and more! Gather your friends and loved ones for a musical escapade that will hit all the right notes! For more details, visit http://www.singaporeccc.org.sg/.
SINGAPO人: Discovering Chinese Singaporean Culture
Open from 2pm – 8pm on Monday, and from 10am – 8pm, Tuesday to Sunday
Early closures at 3pm on Fridays – 21, 28 August
Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre, Level 2 (1 Straits Boulevard, Singapore 018906)
Did you know? While the Zhongyuan Festival falls on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month, it is observed for the whole month in Singapore as it is believed that the gates of hell are opened and spirits are free to wander during this period. Learn about the Zhongyuan Festival and more, at the Centre’s SINGAPO人 exhibition which highlights Chinese Singaporean culture from food to music, as well as language and festivals. Learn how Chinese culture in Singapore has evolved in a way quite unlike other communities around the world, and come discover (and rediscover) what it means to be a ‘Chinese Singapo人’ today.
6 For more information, please visit www.singaporeccc.org.sg.