Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hungry Ghost Week Menu

This week: Another great Taiwanese menu from Karen Hulene Bartell's Best of Taiwanese Cuisine!

Hungry Ghost Menu

Wonton Soup
Fresh Lotus Root Salad
Baked Pork Ribs Rubbed with Mustard Celery Seed
Straw Mushrooms and Snow Peas
Orange and Honeydew Wedges
Candied Lotus Seeds
Grape Tomatoes*

Taiwan has a counterpart to Halloween, but, instead of one day, this celebration lasts a month. The seventh lunar month is known as Hungry Ghost Month. The first day is called the Opening of the Gates of Hades; the last is called the Closing of the Gates of Hades. People believe that for a month, hungry ghosts walk the streets, looking for a good party. The fifteenth day of the seventh month is especially ominous. Many Taiwanese stay home that day, hoping to avoid an unlucky encounter with a ghost out enjoying the festivities. They display fruit, alcohol, and cigarette offerings on small tables outside their front doors. They light incense and burn ghost money (silver paper rectangles that look like money) to appease the hungry ghosts. They hold colorful parades, wear over-sized effigies of Buddhist saints, and light millions of firecrackers, hoping to frighten away the evil spirits. What better time to hold a party?

*Grape tomatoes are very sweet tomatoes about the size of grapes. These are considered a fruit, not a vegetable, and are eaten for dessert.

Chinese cut-out image courtesy of Karen Hulene Bartell.

1 comment:

Teresa said...

Karen, what a wonderful post. I love the menu and the information about Hungry Ghost Week. Good job!