How the month of the walking dead is celebrated in Saigon

By Quynh Tran, Thanh Nguyen   September 5, 2017 | 07:43 pm PT
Showering money and food on poor people are popular ways to pay tribute to the wandering souls, dead or alive.

The month of wandering souls peaked in the middle of the seventh lunar month on Tuesday night, when many families in Vietnam laid out food offerings for those who died without a family to mourn for them. The offerings are usually picked up by poor homeless people or those who just enjoy a little festive fun of jostling for the free food.


A Chinese family in Saigon’s District 5 laid out a big tray of all kinds of offerings for the gods and ghosts to pray for luck at their herbal medicine shop.


Giant incense sticks were burned for the special event.


A box of banknotes containing more than VND10 million ($440) in small bills. The money was thrown out onto the street in a more modern take on the traditional offerings.


The recipients represent the wandering souls, assuring the family that their offerings have been accepted and they will receive luck in return.


Hundreds of people waited with nets and hands held high to catch the cash.


It's usually young men who join in the scramble for the money, many of whom are xe om (motorbike taxi) drivers or street vendors.


After the money show, the family burned votive money and cast rice and wine onto the sidewalk to say goodbye to the souls.


The family also handed out more than 300 packages of rice, noodles and cooking oil to poor families. The seventh lunar month is also Vietnam's Mother's Month, which means people often do more for charity and give up meat in tribute to their mothers.

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