Yuling and I arrived to the Yimin Temple celebration of the Ghost Festival on Friday anticipating some pork. Well, at least what will become pork.
At the temple, a pig (yes, a whole pig) is offered to the ghosts and gods in order to bless the town and appease the ancestors. While this food source is NOT wasted (Chinese food rarely is!), its head is put on display for a time. We missed this event as we were too early, but managed to capture some temple music meant to entertain the spirits that walk the earth during ghost month.
The first thing I noticed was a stage to the side with a Chinese Opera performance. This is pretty common during ghost month as it is believed to “entertain” the ancestors.
The performance, I later learned, represents a distinct brand of Chinese opera here in Taiwan. Taiwanese opera has its own style – and is much different than the varieties you’ll see in Hong Kong, Shanghai, or (especially) Beijing – where it is known as “Peking” opera… by the former Westernization of the capital’s name.
The above jar of sticks are 求籤, or (Cantonese) Kau Cim. I’m not sure what the Mandarin translation is, but I remember seeing them at Hong Kong’s Wong Tai Sin temple.
The above photos show some temple musicians playing a call for the gods to join the ceremony at the temple. I was joined as a photographer by a large cadre of locals with DSLR cameras – I’m guessing they were covering the temple’s preparations for the event.
The instrument in the first photo is a Suona, as covered in one of my earlier posts. You can listen to the unmistakable sound it makes it at the Youtube video I posted there.