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Chinese Hungry Ghost Festival

king of ghosts

“King of Ghosts” parading through the streets

 

Hungry Ghost Festival, otherwise also known as the 7th month in the Chinese calendar marks the opening of the gates of the Chinese 18 levels of Hell, allowing the spirits of the dead to freely roam and visit loved ones in the land of the living for the entire month (from 14th August to 12th September). During this period, Buddhist and Taoist devotees hold prayers and make offerings to the guardians of Hell and the spirits as a mark of respect. Street performances, like the Chinese opera, are also enacted to entertain the spirits. By the way, if you are watching the Chinese opera at a local festival, do not sit in the first front row. That’s reserved for the spirits.

 

chinese-opera-ghost-month

Old folks waiting for the opera to start

 

reserved front row seats for "special guests"

reserved front row seats for “special guests”

 

And also during this period of the Chinese Ghost Festival, a long list of mostly Don’ts are often observed:

  • Avoid going out after midnight. Actually after 11pm to be exact.
  • Don’t go camping.
  • Don’t swim in lakes, rivers, or in the sea especially if that place has records of previous drownings.
  • Postpone moving into a new house or apartment in this month.
  • Postpone getting married in this month.
  • Don’t open an umbrella in your house.
  • Don’t buy old puppets, sculptures, or dolls.
  • Avoid taking photos in the open at night.
  • Avoid standing under trees at night.
  • Don’t kick or disturb any of the offerings at the roadside.
  • Avoid leaving your main door open for long periods of time during the night.
  • Ignore strange sounds like soft whispering or sobbing, as well as strange smells, particularly pleasantly sweet ones.
  • It is also considered an inauspicious period to visit the hospital, get surgery, or attend a funeral.

 

Personally I think it is up to one’s personal discretion whether to believe in the existence of ghosts (different from spirits) or not but here’s a security camera footage recorded recently. You tell me what it is…. :)

 

Qi Xi Festival – A Chinese Valentine’s Day Story

cowherd and weaver girl

Tonight is the 7th day of the 7th lunar month, otherwise also known as Qi Xi Festival (七夕節) or Chinese Valentine’s Day. It also happens to be the only day 2 lovers: a cowherd and a weaver girl get to meet across a bridge made entirely with magpies after being separated by the wide Milky Way for the rest of the time.

This is a bitter-sweet romantic tale about the love story between a heavenly weaver girl, (symbolised by the star Vega) and a cowherd (symbolised by the star Altair). 

A young cowherd, Niulang (牛郎; literally: “cowherd”), came across a beautiful girl—Zhinü (织女; literally: “weavergirl”), the Goddess’s seventh daughter, who had just escaped from heaven after being bored to look for fun. Zhinü soon met and fell in love with Niulang, and they got married without the knowledge of the Goddess. Zhinü proved to be a wonderful wife, and Niulang to be a good husband. They lived happily and had two children. But the Goddess of Heaven found out that Zhinü, a fairy girl, had married a mere mortal. The Goddess was furious and ordered Zhinü to return to heaven to her former duty of weaving colorful clouds, a task she neglected while living on earth with a mortal. On Earth, Niulang was very upset that his wife had disappeared. Suddenly, his ox began to talk, telling him that if he killed it and put on its hide, he would be able to go up to Heaven to find his wife. Crying bitterly, he killed the ox, put on the skin, and carried his two beloved children off to Heaven to find Zhinü. The Goddess discovered this and was very angry. Taking out her hairpin, the Goddess scratched a wide river in the sky to separate the two lovers forever, thus forming the Milky Way between Altair and Vega. Zhinü must sit forever on one side of the river, sadly weaving on her loom, while Niulang watches her from afar while taking care of their two children (his flanking stars β and γ Aquilae). But once a year all the magpies in the world would take pity on them and fly up into heaven to form a bridge (鹊桥, “the bridge of magpies”, Que Qiao) over the star Deneb in the Cygnus constellation so the lovers may be together for a single night, which is the seventh night of the seventh moon. And this day have come to be known as the Chinese Valentine’s Day.

A famous Chinese poem written during the Han dynasty goes:

鵲橋仙
纖雲弄巧,飛星傳恨,銀漢迢迢暗渡。 金風玉露一相逢,便勝卻人間無數。 柔情似水,佳期如夢,忍顧鵲橋歸路。 兩情若是久長時,又豈在朝朝暮暮。
Meeting across the Milky way
Through the varying shapes of the delicate clouds, the sad message of the shooting stars, a silent journey across the Milky Way, one meeting of the Cowherd and Weaver amidst the golden autumn wind and jade-glistening dew, eclipses the countless meetings in the mundane world. The feelings soft as water, the ecstatic moment unreal as a dream, how can one have the heart to go back on the bridge made of magpies? If the two hearts are united forever, why do the two persons need to stay together—day after day, night after night?

 

This month also happens to be the Hungry Ghost Month (August 14, 2015 to September 12, 2015), so please remember not to stay out till late at night and especially DO NOT step-on or purposely kick any of the burnt paper offerings or fruits and buns stacked by the roadside. :)

 

Happy 50th Birthday, Singapore!!

sg50

Celebrating The Little Red Dot’s 50th birthday this 9th August 2015.

The SG50 logo celebrates the Singaporean spirit – signifying that our dreams are not limited by the physical size of our island nation. :)

 
What makes Singapore unique? Click me!

Where Is My Nobleman? Will The Real Nobleman Please Stand Up?

putstretchedhand

Next to “Do I have money/wealth?”, the next most popular question I receive is “Where is my Nobleman?”. Everyone appreciates a leg-up or someone save them when they are in a pinch or a stranger providing assistance at the right time when needed. Just when you need it most, these are the people who will come to offer their assistance. Often they may only make an appearance during a crisis or when you get yourself into hot soup. In other words, a Nobleman. (No, not the kind in tights and frilly collars.)

In Feng Shui, but more in Bazi (Chinese Astrology), the Nobleman Star [贵人星] (or Benefactor Star) is used to refer to the presence of helpful people, benefactors, mentors; particularly during critical or crucial circumstances. The Nobleman Star is not actually a planetary body but the name of a symbolic star. There are many different kinds of Noblemen Stars but this particular one we are talking about is known as Tian Yi Gui Ren  [天乙贵人]. Otherwise also known as the “leader” of all the Noblemen Stars. In this article I will teach you how to identify them and to see if you have them in your life. What if you have none? We’ve got that covered too.

* By the way, the Nobleman Star is NOT to be confused with the “Secret Ally” that is so well-known in westernised feng shui. Eg. People born in the Rat year’s “allies” are Dragon and Monkey and the Ox is their “secret friend”. In Bazi we refer to this as the Combinations. They have a completely different meaning & usage. It does not automatically mean that people born in the year of the Dragon, Monkey or Ox are “lucky helpers” to people born in the year of the Rat. The problem with this is if the animals (Dragon, Monkey or Ox) are not favourable to the Rat person’s chart, instead of helping they will inevitably be just an obstacle and a stumbling block.

First of all you need to generate your own Bazi birth chart with the free tool available here. Look at the top half of the “Day” column to get your element. Eg. For Xin (Yin Metal), the noblemen are Tiger and Horse. (see table below)

nobleman stars

Your Day Pillarbazi sample 1

Nobleman Star in blue box

bazi sample 2
The best way is to see if they are present in your Bazi chart that you generated earlier. Based on what is written in the top half of your Day coumn, check to see if your chart has the corresponding Nobleman animal representation shown in the above table. Their appearance indicates the presence of Noblemen in your life and likely you were helped somewhere sometime, either with or without your knowledge. Example, Xin (Yin Metal) has Horse (one of it’s Nobleman Stars) located at the Hour column [boxed in blue]. Often, people equate having a Nobleman means an obvious assist when you are in trouble. But sometimes your Nobleman may also not be as obvious initially. For example, imagine a colleague messing up on an important account and you “happened” to be the one available at that time to save it and got promoted as a result or that “horrible” boss who pushed you so hard enough that you achieved a breakthrough in your career. That colleague and horrible boss are also your Nobleman. Your rival or competitor could also indirectly be your Nobleman by keeping you on your toes and motivated.

If you cannot find any of the Nobleman animals in your Bazi chart, you can try looking for them in your 10-year Luck Pillar. If you totally cannot find them anywhere on your Bazi chart, you can wait till the year/month/day of your Nobleman animal. The other option is to look for them in your partner’s Bazi chart. Using the example above, if your Day Pillar is a Xin (Yin Metal) and your partner, girlfriend or wife is born either in the year of the Tiger or Horse, then she can be your Nobleman. If that is so, more often than not she will be the one who keeps you out of trouble most of the time. The saying “Behind every successful man is a women” is most appropriate in this instance. So if you are not attached yet, you now know what to look for. :)

If you really cannot fulfill either of the above 2 conditions, all is not lost. You can still make use of your personal Nobleman Stars as locations in your house or office using the table below.

 

Ox (Northeast), Goat (Southwest)
Rat (North), Monkey (Southwest)
Pig (Northwest), Rooster (West)
Horse (South), Tiger (Northeast)
Snake (Southeast), Rabbit (East)

 

Although not as “good” as having the Nobleman Stars within your own Bazi birth chart, activating the feng shui of your house or office especially your own personal Nobleman Sectors can bring you more opportunities and support from other people in pursuing your goals.

* Kindly be advised that the above article is a generic explanation of applications of the Nobleman Star, the limited space of a blog post does not allow for a more detailed explanation. I would recommend you consult a professional Feng Shui practitioner for a more detailed reading on identifying helpful people in your Bazi chart, as well as, the exact locations plus auspicious date & time of application within your property.

 

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