Ben in Hong Kong©

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Gates Of Hell

The gates of hell are open, I just thought I should warn you. This also led me to nearly calling the fire department at 2am this morning so I thought I would write about it.

Ghosts are roaming the streets of Hong Kong looking for human souls to consume, this is a month long problem that takes place every year when the portal between the human world and the ghost world becomes unlocked and 'hungry ghosts' start zipping around.

One tradition of this month long spookfest is burning hell money and other offerings on the streets to feed the ghosts (so they don't feed on you). This is usually done in big metal drums with the ash and fire drifting up the street and usually into your eyes. It seems that the brothels of Wan Chai tend to burn more money and have more of these fires on the streets than others I have seen, perhaps they feel that their occupants souls are slightly more easy to steal?

I have written a few times about my confusion regarding the giant glass cases and regular candle burning that takes place on the roof of the building across from my flat. You can read about it here. I sleep with my curtains open and woke up this morning at around 2am and looked out of my window. I then looked again, squinted and leapt fully out of my bed because the roof of this building was on fire, there was no controlled candle action going on, this was easily an 8ft high flame, my heart started hammering quite fast.

In the last week there have been two massive fires in Hong Kong so this is what I was thinking about when I grabbed my phone and keyed in 999. I then figured I should put my glasses on to make sure I was seeing what I thought I was seeing.

And it turns out that this was just another offering to the ghosts, as there was a man watching the fire on the roof in a totally calm manner. I feel like sending the picture to the local police anyway, what idiot would make a fire that big on the roof of a block of flats where people are sleeping???


If you want to read more about the ghost festival click here

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