The other day we headed out from our house one Saturday morning. We got back a while later to see this tent suddenly pop up with lots of bright colors and these full sized cutouts taped into chairs on one end of the room.
We asked a guy what this was and he called over another guy. This gentlemen explained that the next day marked the three-year anniversary of his parents death, and they would hold a ceremony to mark their passing.
We had seen in Vietnam how the families make offerings to their parents by burning paper items to send to Heaven. Let me expound on that some. In the spiritual sense we all grasp the idea of burning incense or perhaps prayers written on paper and then the smoke and ashes carry our prayers and wishes up to heaven. In some Asian cultures they take that more literally, the make special paper versions of all the items you need in heaven. Money, sandals, glasses, cell phones, pots, pans, woks, chopsticks, more money, clothes, cars, planes, you name it, there is a paper version that can be burned to send up to Mom, Dad, Grandad and Granny so they can have all the comfort of home.
So the next day, they had a day long ceremony. In the morning a monk lead chanting and incense, along with drum beating. Later in the day when we passed by there was a whole spread laid out. A whole suckling pig, big platters of food, and music all went along with the ceremony. The parts we saw proved to be quite a sight to see.
The man whose parents were being celebrated was very kind to take the time to explain it to us briefly. It was very cool to get to see this part of Singaporean life and yet another reason I am grateful to the opportunity to be here.