2014.7.27 | 干諾道西 connaught road west
entering the seventh month of the lunar calendar, temporary altars and scaffolding would be erected in many old districts. they are for the different events of a mixture of religious, charity and cultural nature built around the hungry ghost festival month.
hungry ghost festival in chinese is yu lan. the word came from “ullambana” in sanskrit, meaning to relieve pain and suffering from the deceased.
sai ying pun has a long history of celebrating the hungry ghost festival due to its strong chiu chow culture and influence. also this part of sai ying pun, used to be known as the wing lok pier (or sam kok mar tou), suffered from many killings during the japanese occupation in WWII.
the organization eventually set up a company registered as buddhist (sam kok mar tou yu-lan) charitable association ltd. every year it put up an altar for worshippers to pay their respect (& contributions) as well as holding a three-day gala at a nearby park.
even though this altar has shrunk in scale as time past and seem more minimal, there are still details rich in cultural, religious and to me aesthetic values. the four big characters on top say “peace for the territory”. i do feel at peace and blessed every time seeing these words. and the string of lanterns hanged down do add some haunting effect to the structure. actually there are chinese characters written on the lantern which come together is the name of a god who is in charge of the festival.