Singapore, 29 July 2022 – The management of Haw Par Villa, Journeys Pte Ltd, is curating a series of events to commemorate the 7th Lunar Month, from 12 to 26 August 2022.
This will be the first Spirits Festival held in the 85-year-old iconic Asian park celebrating the traditional festivals of Singapore, aptly incorporating its newly-built Hell’s Museum, and the park’s infamous 10 Courts of Hell.
The 7th Lunar Month has always been riddled with mystery, rituals, and a perceived sense of superstition. Officially, the 15th day – 12 August this year – is commemorated by the Taoists as the Hungry Ghost Festival (Zhong Yuan Jie), and by the Buddhists as the Ullambana Festival (Yu Lan Jie). However, in Singapore and Malaysia, these festivals may be observed throughout the entire 7th Lunar Month. But today, the festival has seen a reduction in scale and grandeur from yesteryears. The sun seems to be setting on this once widely celebrated ghost month in Singapore, and many related industries are also seeing their decline.
The Spirits Festival will commemorate both the Taoist Hungry Ghost Festival and the Buddhist Ullambana Festival in a series of events and an exhibition that will run till end of this year. It will focus on unity in diversity, showing similarities in beliefs and practices amongst the different schools of thought across East Asia. Events organised by Journeys Pte Ltd (JPL) and its associate firm, Singapore History Consultants (SHC), will both entertain and educate visitors on the festivals and the related practices they frequently see but might not understand.
JPL seeks to establish the Spirits Festival as one of the key events on Haw Par Villa’s calendar, in recognition of the significant number of Buddhist and Taoist sculptures and dioramas in the park. After two years of the pandemic, as large gatherings and international travel resume, Journeys also hopes to attract more visitors to Haw Par Villa as a community space for programmes and events.
In terms of key festivals, JPL will focus on the Lunar New Year (January / February), the Solar New Year (April), Labour Day (1 May), Vesak Day (May), and the 7th Lunar Month (July to September). In addition, JPL’s approach is to invite all communities to the park to celebrate each other’s festivals, focus on common links, and create a common space for all communities, big or small, in Singapore.
Events to anticipate for the Spirits Festival 2022
JPL/SHC is collaborating with many partners for the festival. This includes businesses such as Yeo Swee Huat Paper Agency, religious organisations like the Tibetan Buddhist Centre, and subject experts Master Chung Kwang Tung and Venerable You Shi Guang, to make this experience possible.
Exhibition: End of an Era – The Legacy of a Vanishing Trade: Yeo Swee Huat Paper Agency (12 Aug – 31 Dec 2022)
Tibetan 7th Lunar Month Sur Prayer (18 August 2022, 5.30pm – 6.15pm)
RoAM Talk Series: Panel Discussion – Demystifying the 7th Lunar Month in Singapore (18 August 2022, 6.30pm -7.45pm)
7th Lunar Month Taoist-Buddhist Unity Prayers (20 August 2022, 9.00AM – 11AM)
Launch of Self-Guided Taoist Trail on Haw Par Villa’s website
There will be a media preview of the End of an Era exhibition on 12 August 2022, at 4.30pm – 6pm. It will also be attended by Mrs Yeo Siew Peng and Mr Yeo Hung Teo, the owners of Yeo Swee Huat Paper Agency.
For more information, see the Spirits Festival events page for more information.
The activities will take place mainly at the Culture Courtyard. Please refer to the park map for directions to the Courtyard in Haw Par Villa.
It is Item B under “Key Locations”.
For interview requests, RSVP of attendance for events, or further clarifications, please contact the following below with your interview questions: