Goodbye and Back to Hell With You!

Goodbye and Back to Hell With You!
Devotee's run around the burning effigy of the King of Hell and pour out an offering of beer around it.f/2.8, 1/40 sec, at 14mm, 200 ISO, on a X-Pro1

Devotees run around the burning effigy of the King of Hell and pour out an offering of beer around it.
f/2.8, 1/40 sec, at 14mm, 200 ISO, on a X-Pro1

This is the last post in this series. We have been looking at images from the 7th month of the Chinese Lunar calendar locally known as Hungry Ghost. As I stated before, the Chinese Taoist believe that at the first of this month the King of Hell release the dead to roam the earth. Locals appease the spirits by offering them gifts of Hell Bank Notes to spend in hell, other offerings and entertain them with puppet shows and opera performances. On the evening of the 15th all the spirits are to return back to health and then within a few days afterwards the King of Hell himself returns. He’s given a send-off in each community. Every community makes a large paper effigy of the King of Hell. The effigy has resided for two weeks in the local temple. After the 15th day when the local community feels it’s time they send them back to hell by burning the statue of the king. It’s quite spectacular as they surround the statue with paper offerings of every sort and then light it ablaze. It’s a wonder the city doesn’t catch fire as these send-off can become quite the inferno.

 

A party like atmosphere ensues as the King is paraded around the community preceded by lion dancers.f/2.8, 1/30 sec, at 14mm, 2500 ISO, on a X-Pro1

A party like atmosphere ensues as the King is paraded around the community preceded by lion dancers.
f/2.8, 1/30 sec, at 14mm, 2500 ISO, on a X-Pro1

 

The Kings Effigee is then placed at the appropriate spot in the community bows and respect and worship.f/2.8, 1/30 sec, at 14mm, 1600 ISO, on a X-Pro1

The Kings effigy is then placed at the appropriate spot in the community bows in respect and worship.
f/2.8, 1/30 sec, at 14mm, 1600 ISO, on a X-Pro1

 

Taoist devotees pray with joss sticks before the King of Hell. f/2.8, 1/20 sec, at 14mm, 3200 ISO, on a X-Pro1

Taoist devotees pray with joss sticks before the King of Hell.
f/2.8, 1/20 sec, at 14mm, 3200 ISO, on a X-Pro1

 

A final offering is prepared at the base of the King's statue before they said on fire.f/2.8, 1/30 sec, at 14mm, 2500 ISO, on a X-Pro1

A final offering is prepared at the base of the King’s statue before they said on fire.
f/2.8, 1/30 sec, at 14mm, 2500 ISO, on a X-Pro1

 

Offering prayers to the King of Hell. f/2.8, 1/30 sec, at 14mm, 1250 ISO, on a X-Pro1

Offering prayers to the King of Hell.
f/2.8, 1/30 sec, at 14mm, 1250 ISO, on a X-Pro1

 

Once set on fire it only takes minutes before it's consumed. Note the paper money being tossed on the fire.f/2.8, 1/30 sec, at 14mm, 200 ISO, on a X-Pro1

Once set on fire it only takes minutes before it’s consumed. Note the paper money being tossed on the fire.
f/2.8, 1/30 sec, at 14mm, 200 ISO, on a X-Pro1

 

Soon only ashes I left of the king and he returns back to hell.f/2.8, 1/30 sec, at 14mm, 500 ISO, on a X-Pro1

Soon only ashes I left of the King and he returns back to hell.
f/2.8, 1/30 sec, at 14mm, 500 ISO, on a X-Pro1

 

Here are more images from this night. They’re hosted on Photoshelter. If you’re a photographer and you’re needing a platform in which to store high res images or show images to client I can’t recommend Photoshelter enough.  Be sure to check them out HERE. It’s FREE for the first 14 days, then $14.99 for 1 month, and then $29.99/month thereafter.

 


The King of Hell – Images by Matt Brandon

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About The Author

Matt Brandon

Matt is a Malaysia based humanitarian and travel photographer. Well known as a photographer and international workshop instructor, Matt’s images have been used by business and organizations around the globe. Matt also on the design board for Think Tank Photo, a camera bag manufacturer. In 2013 Matt founded the On Field Media Project to train the staff of non-profits to use appropriate technology to produce timely as well as quality images.

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