Tag Archive: China and Taiwan

Blessing Rice in Ghost Festival

sduncan post on January 29th, 2015
Posted in China and Taiwan Tags: ,

By Kadia Kwok

The Ghost Festival is a traditional Chinese festival, which is celebrated by Chinese in many countries. This festival is on the Chinese calendar (lunar Calendar)14th night of the month of seventh. The seventh of the Lunar calendar is called Ghost Month.

In the Chinese culture, people believe that hungry ghosts and spirits rise from the gates of hell, which remain open this month. The spirits seek food and revenge, as well as visit their descendants. The Ghost Festival is the height of the Ghost Month Celebrations, and descendants remember their ancestors by preparing a meal for the ghosts. It is widely believed that the ghosts must be satisfied in order for there to be peace, harmony and good fortune in the family.

The last activity of the Ghost Festival is to distribute “Blessing Rice”. In the past, rough, low quality rice was distributed to seniors and to the poor as an act of charity and penance to dispel any ghosts that sought revenge. There would be thousands of seniors who lined up at the community centre, waiting to receive some rice.

Originally, rice was offered to the ghosts. But after being offered, it was no longer a desirable food since it had been touched by the ghosts. In order to prevent waste of edible food, the rich would distribute it to the poor in an act of philanthropy.

Rice has great importance in the Chinese culture, the most important source of carbohydrates in the diet. It is consumed at a rate which is comparable only to the amount of bread eaten in the Western Culture. Historically, during a period of famine, rice was the only food available and saved many lives. As well, many immigrants from Chiu Chau, south part of China, to Hong Kong made a living from growing and selling rice, a business that was carried on by future generations. Hence, rice is a source of food security and had symbolic importance to the people of China.

However, today, the meaning of rice has evolved in Hong Kong. Instead of being blessed by rice, people eat it as a commodity and do not appreciate its value. During rice distribution at the end of the Ghost Festival today, high quality rice is given out in bags of 5 kg each, along with packages of amenities and lucky money packages. Although philanthropic, it is also distributed to those who do not appreciate its sole meaning and do not need the money, rice, or amenities. However, those who are in need no doubt benefit from this evolving tradition.

Alternatively, those from Chiu Chau distribute rice to give relief to the poor, but also as an act of charity from their ancestors who sold rice. This offers peace to those who sell it as well as those who receive it, and in this way has a doubled positive effect.

Works Cited:

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedi. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghost_Festival
Festivals. Retrieved from http://www.chinavoc.com/festivals/ghost.htm
Religion Facts. Retrieved from http://www.religionfacts.com/chinese_religion/holidays/ghost_festival.htm
Lbrown 7617’s blog. Retrieved from http://lbrown7617.wordpress.com/english-3/why-is-rice-so-important-to-chinese- civilization

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Philanthropy in Confucianism

sduncan post on January 30th, 2013
Posted in China and Taiwan Tags: ,

By Vanessa Wong

Confucius had a great impact on developing Asian culture. Born in 550 B.C. in northern China, his family was of modest background and this was partially due to his father’s death at a early age . At the age of 50, Confucius was appointed to a political position and where he witnessed corruption and the downfall of their system. After leaving this post five years later, he travelled for thirteen years Read the rest of this entry >>

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The Chinese Famine of the 1640s

By Anita Mah

This research paper in Global Giving will study the relief efforts during the 1640s famine in China, towards the end of the late Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). It illustrates instance of giving outside the Western Tradition, which is focused on individualism(self-reliant action), family traditions, and the Catholic religion.

During the late 16th century in China, there were different types of charitable institutions and organizations to release animals from captivity, Read the rest of this entry >>

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Philanthropy in Confucianism

sduncan post on January 30th, 2013
Posted in China and Taiwan Tags: ,

By Jessica Lamhonwah

The words ren and yi represent the fundamental moral values in Confucianism. Although varied in translation, the word ren means benevolence. Ren is the consideration of one human being for another and is what ties individual together. According to Confucian thought, ren is instilled in human nature. In Confucianisn, Ren is regarded as the highest merit that can be achieved by an individual. Read the rest of this entry >>

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The Giving of Red Eggs in The Chinese Tradition

sduncan post on January 30th, 2013
Posted in China and Taiwan Tags: , ,

By Betty Guan

According to Chinese tradition, “Mua Guek”, which means “Full Month” is a celebration for babies who have survived their first month after birth; the significance of this event can be related to the high rate of infant mortality in the past (Heinz, 1999). Traditionally in China, a baby was not named until it was a month old, and a party was hosted in the honor of the baby.

The one month old celebration of the baby has been an important part of the Chinese culture throughout its history. Read the rest of this entry >>

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Lunar New Year and the Giving of Hong Bao

sduncan post on January 29th, 2013
Posted in China and Taiwan Tags: ,

By Christianna Facey-Crowther

In Taiwan the Lunar New Year is the most important festival of the year, as it is for Chinese people around the world. The festival begins on the twenty-fourth day of the twelfth month of the lunar calendar, the day when it is believed that the house gods report to the Jade Emperor about the household activities of the past year (Cultural Taiwan, 2007). Taiwanese people celebrate the new year with family and friends and engage in symbolic meals and rituals that are meant to bring luck and prosperity for the new year.

Traditionally, on the day of the Lunar New Year, red envelopes are distributed that contain paper money. Read the rest of this entry >>

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Chi Heng Foundation

sduncan post on January 29th, 2013
Posted in China and Taiwan Tags: ,

By Rachel Chan

This summary attempts to report the work of Chi Heng Foundation, a non-governmental charitable organization aimed at helping HIV impacted children in China. The Foundation started with one man’s dedication and efforts to combat what UN predicted as the “verge of a catastrophe”. It was estimated in 2005 that the epidemic will grow rapidly to 10 million cases by 2010. In the 1990s, blood selling became very popular in parts of Central China especially among poor farmers as a means to earn money. Read the rest of this entry >>

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