By Stan Aron
Hungry Ghost Festival, or Ghost Day, is a traditional Buddhist and Taoist holiday, taking place on August 10 this year, during which people pay homage to their deceased ancestors by sending them gifts.
It's also a yearly opportunity to satisfy the urges of your inner arsonist.
That's because they best way to send those gifts is by burning a small pile of them on the street.
But we’re not talking about your third uncle twice removed here – the guy you would maybe give a toothbrush to as a Christmas present. We’re talking about your dearly departed relatives of times gone by, who deserve slightly more than a toothbrush. (And we not sure how important dental hygiene is in the afterlife anyway.)
Burning a gift deemed worthy of such love and devotion might be quite expensive and wasteful, but there is a work-around: fake offerings. They won’t be able to tell the difference, will they?
So here are six traditional gifts to burn in honor of your ancestors.
6 – Money
The most common Ghost Day gift, the fake money, can range from fairly realistic wads of cash to giant monopoly-like bank notes to rags featuring drawings of bills and coins. This might also be an opportunity to get rid of all the fake bills you’ve been given as change and haven’t since offloaded.
5 – Smartphones
Was Grandpa a tech-enthusiast? Send him an iPad. Might he be tired of the Samsung you gave him last Ghost Day? Burn the latest iPhone in his honor. Typically, these would be cardboard cut-outs. But if you feel like getting rid of the knockoff smartphone you bought at Yashow, feel free. That thing never worked properly, anyway.
4 – Houses
Because having real estate property in the afterlife is the ultimate retirement investment. However, don’t forget to include the property title in the fire, otherwise they might be expropriated when they get a visit by the afterlife police.
3 – Cars
This is where it gets creepy: if sending them a car just isn’t good enough, you can also include the driver who, presumably, is locked in the front seat.
2 – Animals
Burning the driver wasn’t good enough for you? How about a little animal cruelty to go with that? Traditionally, one would burn a horse for male ancestors. Women get cows. What a compliment, right?
1 – Children
If you weren’t creeped out by the idea of burning livestock, this one definitely takes the cake. Children will help guide your ancestors to heaven. They also represent the hope of bringing more fortune to the family. So you’re not just burning these cardboard children, you’re sending them to an afterlife of servitude.
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