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Hungry Ghost Festival 2022

Dances that please the ghosts, occupying the first row in front of the stage


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In Chinese communities, the 7th month of the Lunar calendar is renowned as the time when the souls of deceased ancestors are released to roam among the living. When ignored, the ghosts might get angry and bring various misfortunes. To entertain them Singaporean Chinese hold Wanga performances known as Chinese operas and other singing and dancing performances called Getai. Naturally, the first row of the seats is to be left for the ghosts. Fake money and other painted stuff are​ burned to ensure a prosperous afterlife. Besides traditional festivities, Singapore's celebration is unique thanks to the hungry ghost festival auction and dinner as charity and food offerings are also believed to please the ghosts.

The 'Getai' performance is the main highlight of the Hungry Ghost Day celebration. Known originally as a traditional form of entertainment for spirits with traditional songs, it has modernized over time. Its newly incorporated elements include young and sexy performers, techno versions of traditional songs in English and Mandarin and LED panel lit stages. Well, time doesn't stay still, even in the world of spirits, tastes may change.

The Hungry Ghost Month generally falls between mid-August and mid-September (sometimes solely in August) and is considered a bad time to do anything but honour the dead. It is not appropriate for travelling, buying property, getting married, or any other grandiose plans. The ghosts will mess it up. Even swimming is discouraged. Moreover, taking photos at the offering sites is not a good idea either. It's deemed rude, and might upset the ghosts. After all, you don't want a shot with "extra people" in it, do you?

If you're looking for where you should go on the Hungry Ghost Day in Singapore, the most popular location is obviously Chinatown. Besides traditional festivities, visitors may also sign up for the Birth, Life, and Death Tour which complements the atmosphere of the holiday. Another famous spot is Lorong Koo Chye Sheng Hong Temple which hosts a variety of shows and a celebrated auction for auspicious items. Alternatively, you can also visit the Asia Paranormal Investigators based in Singapore. They systematically analyze strange occurrences happening in the area.

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