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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Hungry Ghost Festival

I'm not sure, but I think we just celebrated the Hungry Ghost Festival here in Bien Hoa, Vietnam.

My Vietnamese friends invited me to go with them to the Buddhist temple both yesterday & today. Unfortunately, I don't speak much Vietnamese (though I'm working on it), so I couldn't ask many questions about it, but when we got to the temple, there were lots of people milling around, lighting incense & bowing to the various statues of Buddha. I followed my friends around the temple, mimicking their actions: taking off our shoes, bowing, placing sticks of incense in large urns, & offering fruit to the alters. When I got home I did a search on September 2nd & found the Hungry Ghost Festival, so I assume that was it.

I feel like an anthropologist using context clues to draw conclusions. Maybe one day I will speak enough Vietnamese to be able to ask questions directly.

1 comment:

Steve Skinner said...

I had a similar experience while visiting Japan in 1971. When we went into the temples and shrines we spent lots of time bowing and smiling; who knows what we agreed to!