A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
Festival of Hungry Ghosts (Zhong yuan, Chung-Yuan, 中元節, Zhongqiujie). Chinese Taoist and Buddhist ancestral Ghost Festival on the 15th day of the Ghost Month of 8 August to 6 September, the 7th month in the Chinese Lunar Calendar. Many Chinese families worship both Buddhism and Taoism and believe that the spirits detained in Hell are ghosts that have one month of freedom to travel to their hometowns. Devotees prepare food in their homes to worship the gods and pray for the spirits of their ancestors. Some cities build multi-story sacrificial altars and Taoists bathe, wear formal dress, fast, and in religious ceremonies pray for good fortune for homeless ghosts, lighting the altars at night to welcome them. Items made of paper for use in the spirit world are offered to aid those spirits that have no resting place or descendants and large paper boats are burned in temples to help spirits cross the sea of torment to Nirvana (涅槃., release). The Buddhist legend is that Moggallana was one of Buddha Shakyamuni’s best students, had supernatural powers and saw with his divine eyes that his deceased mother was among the hungry ghosts and so he went down the Hell to feed her but found that the combined power of a thousand monks would be needed to forgive her her sins. Buddha told him that the 15th day of the 7th lunar month was the Pavarana holy day for all monks and that offering five fruits, incense, oil, lamps and candles would help parents back to the seventh generation escape from suffering. Moggallana’s mother obtained liberation from her sufferings as a hungry ghost by receiving the power of merit and virtue from the assembled monks and on the 15th day of the 7th lunar month rituals are held in Buddhist temples for the deliverance of all suffering spirits. The 13 August Obon (お盆,Festival of Souls) was the associated annual Japanese Buddhist Festival. Image: huffpost.com.
Raksha Bandhan (Rakshabandhan, Rakhi Pournima, Ujjwal Silono, Rakri, protection to tie). Popular traditional Hindu annual rite central to the festival of love, care and affection between brothers and sisters observed from the 21 August Muhurat (auspicious time) to the Udaya Tithi (dawn) of the following lunar day. Celebrated in India, Nepal and other parts of the Indian subcontinent and the Hindu diaspora. Raksha means protection and bandhan is to tie. Girls and married women of north Indian descent tie a rakhi (amulet) to the right wrists of their brothers, wishing them protection from evil influences of all kinds and celebrating and strengthening the bond of love and care held in the hearts of brothers and sisters. Celebrated in Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism. Image: republicworld.com.
Prayer I am tying on your hand this Raksha, with which the most powerful and generous King Bali himself was bound. O, Raksha, do not go away, do not go away. Oṃ Yena baddho balee raajaa daanavendro mahaabalah, Tena twaam anubadhnaami rakshey maa chala maa chala. Svaha
Queenship of Mary (Nossa Senhora Rainha do Mundo, The Immaculate Heart of Mary, Coronation of Our Lady). Annual Roman Catholic Feast celebrated since 1955 but with roots in Scripture. At the 25 March Annunciation, when Jesus was conceived, Gabriel said Mary’s Son would have David’s throne to rule forever. At the 31 May Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to her cousin Elizabeth, Elizabeth called Mary: “Mother of my Lord” and Mary’s queenship is thus a share in Jesus’ kingship. In the Fourth Century, St Ephrem called Mary: “Lady,” and “Queen” and later Church fathers used this title. Eleventh and Thirteenth Century hymns address Mary as: “Hail, Holy Queen,” “Hail, Queen of Heaven,” and “Queen of Heaven.” The Dominican rosary and Franciscan crown celebrate her queenship, as do many invocations in Mary’s litany. The Feast of the Queenship of Mary is on the octave day of the 15 August Assumption to celebrate Mary’s deserving the title as she is: the Roman Catholic Mother of God; closely associated as the New Eve with Jesus’ redemptive work; of preeminent perfection; and of the greatest intercessory power. Mary has been placed above the glory of all the saints and angels and crowned with stars by her divine Son and is enthroned at His side in heaven as the Queen and Lady of the Universe. Image: catholicnewsagency.com.