Thursday, 5 April 2007

Old Souls Day

Religious and cultural tolerance seems to be a catch-cry around the world. In Penang, where almost every street has a Hindu or Buddhist temple, a Mosque, or a Church, it is no exception.

Today as we were riding our motor bike we turned a corner and just had to stop and pull over. A Chinese family were building a large stack of paper goods - shoes, food, money, gold bullion and shirts, in the middle of the road. Each item was piled high on to the stack, incense was lit, payers were said and whole pile was ignited. As the fire burnt down many of the ashes floated upwards, carrying with them all the worldly goods that the Old Souls would need for the coming year. The shop in our photograph sells paper "goods" for burning as offerings.

This all took place in the middle of a busy road. Motor bikes and cars patiently waited and weaved their way around this ceremony. No harsh words, no horns blarring, just a simple ceremony of a Chinese family honouring their deceased relatives in the middle of a busy road.

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