#82 Haunting Chinese Ghost Festival 神秘的中元节

Podcast Transcript

大家好!欢迎回来MaoMi Chinese!

我相信大家已经知道很多中国的节日了。今天,我想和大家聊一个不是特别多人知道的节日。这个节日叫“中元节”,也叫“鬼节”。每一年的中元节都在农历的七月十五日,今年的中元节是公历的8月12日。

因为中元节也叫“鬼节”,顾名思义,这应该是跟“鬼魂”有关的节日。我们以前聊过清明节。听过这一期播客的朋友可能知道,中国人相信我们的家人和祖先去世后,会去另外一个世界,所以,我们要纪念去世的家人和祖先。其实,中元节也和纪念祖先有关。在中国人的传统观念里,大部分人去世以后,他们的鬼魂会去“地府”。在每一年的农历七月,地府的鬼门会打开。这些鬼魂会回到人间,看望他们的亲人和朋友,直到七月底,鬼门要关闭了,他们才会回去。听起来,是不是和墨西哥的万灵节有点像?没错,这也是一个纪念死者的节日。也就是说,中国人认为,人死了并不是结束,只是另一趟旅程的开始。

在这样神秘的节日里,人们有什么忌讳呢?忌讳,意思是不可以做的事情。首先,在整个七月,人们认为最好不要做一些太高兴的事情,比如:结婚,搬家,等等。如果你的生日在七月,那么你最好不要在半夜庆祝生日,因为你可能会有一些意想不到的“客人”……第二,在中元节这一天,说话要特别小心,最好不要说“鬼”字,不然可能真的会有鬼被吸引过来。第三,在中元节这一天晚上,你可能会在街道上看到有人在烧冥纸。冥纸,意思是烧给鬼魂的纸。请你千万不要踩在冥纸上。因为这些冥纸是烧给鬼魂的,如果踩在冥纸上,鬼魂很可能会生气。

说了那么多中元节的忌讳,我们也来说一说中元节的习俗,也就是在这个节日里,人们可以做什么,还有应该做什么。前面我们说了,中元节也是纪念祖先的节日,所以,在这一天我们可以去拜祭祖先和去世的亲人。人们也会在街道旁边烧冥纸,或者放一些食物。这些都是给鬼魂的。人们相信有一些鬼魂非常孤独,所以给他们烧冥纸当作衣服,也给他们一些食物。在有河的地方,人们也会做一些河灯,然后点亮灯里的蜡烛,再把灯放进河里,让灯顺着水流飘走。放河灯是为了给鬼魂带路,让他们回去该去的地方。

在你的国家有没有类似的节日?如果有的话,你们有什么忌讳,又有什么习俗呢?欢迎在评论区给我们留言哦!

Hello everyone! Welcome back to MaoMi Chinese!

I believe you already know many Chinese festivals. Today, We are going to talk about a festival that fewer people know about. This festival is called "Zhongyuan Festival", also known as "Ghost Festival". The Zhngyuan Festival falls on the 15th of July in the lunar calendar every year, and this year's Zhongyuan Festival falls on the 12th day of the Gregorian calendar.

Because Zhongyuan Festival is also called "Ghost Festival", and as its name suggests, this is a festival related to "ghosts". We talked about Qingming Festival before. People who have listened to this podcast may know that the Chinese believe that when our family members and ancestors pass away, they will go to another world. Therefore, we would like to commemorate the deceased family members and ancestors. In fact, the Zhongyuan Festival is also about commemorating ancestors. In the traditional Chinese concept, after most people die, their ghosts will go to the "underworld". Every year on the seventh lunar month, the gates of the underworld will open. These ghosts will return to the world to visit their relatives and friends, and they will not go back until the end of July when the gate of hell closes. Sounds a bit like All Souls' Day in Mexico, right? Yes, it is also a festival to honor the dead. In other words, the Chinese believe that death is not the end, but the beginning of another journey.

In such a mysterious festival, what are the taboos? Taboo means something that people can’t do. First of all, throughout July, people think it's best not to do something too happy. For example, getting married, moving to a new home, etc. If your birthday is in July, then you'd better not celebrate your birthday at midnight, because you may have some unexpected "guests"... Secondly, on the day of the Chinese Zhongyuan Festival, you need to be very careful with your words. It is best not to say the word "ghost". Otherwise, ghosts may really be attracted and come to you. Thirdly, on the night of Chinese New Year's Day, you may see people burning ghost paper on the street. Ghost paper, which means paper burned for ghosts. Please don't step on the ghost paper. Because these ghost papers are burned for ghosts, and if you step on the ghost papers, the ghosts are likely to get angry.

Having said so many taboos about the Zhongyuan Festival, let's also talk about the customs, which means what people can and should do during this festival. As we said earlier, Zhongyuan Festival is also a festival to commemorate ancestors, so we can go to worship ancestors and deceased relatives on this day. People will also burn ghost paper beside the street, or place some food on the street. These are for ghosts. It is believed that some ghosts are very lonely, so people burn ghost paper for them as their clothes and also give them some food. Where there is a river, people also make some river lanterns, then light the candles in the lanterns, put the lanterns into the river, and let the lanterns float away along the water. The river lanterns are set to lead the ghosts back to where they should go.

Are there any similar festivals in your country? If so, what are your taboos and customs? Please leave us a comment!

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