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Chuseok is a significant holiday in Korea during which people commemorate their ancestors. Families gather on this day to honor their ancestors by wearing traditional clothing and preparing traditional Korean food for the offerings. In my artwork, I depict an offering table adorned with food and candles, with the spirits of the ancestors visiting to enjoy the offerings.
Gai Jatra, an annual festival in Nepal, is a day dedicated to honoring one’s deceased relatives from the previous year. The celebration is marked by singing and dancing as people march across the town, led by a cow at the front. In this art piece, I portrayed a line of children with their hands outstretched, and the march of the cow and the spirits of the departed walking on their hands.
Obon is a traditional festival in Japan that commemorates ancestors. The celebration includes various activities such as dancing and lighting lanterns. In my art piece, I have portrayed people performing their traditional dance, with a spirit following them symbolizing the ancestors returning for the festival.
Pchum Ben is a religious festival in Cambodia that spans over 15 days, during the event, people pray and prepare meals as offerings for their deceased relatives. In my art piece, I have depicted two girls in prayer, with candles, flowers, souls, and Buddha watching over them.
Samhain is a Gaelic festival celebrated in Ireland and Scotland and more places. It is believed that on this day, the veil between the living and the dead is especially thin, and the spirits of the deceased visit the land of the living. To mark the occasion, people traditionally light bonfires and wear costumes. In my artwork, I have depicted a spirit disguised as a person wearing a costume, surrounded by the flames of a bonfire.
Dia de Muertos is a traditional Mexican holiday that commemorates the spirits of departed loved ones. During this day, people believe that their loved ones return to the world of living. People offer prayers for their deceased friends and family members. They decorate their home altar or graveyards with their photos, flowers, candles, and the favourite food of their departed loved ones.
My piece is a depiction of a beautifully adorned home altar, complete with the favorite foods and items of the departed. It captures the essence of the holiday by featuring a spirit from a photograph, sitting on the altar.
Galungan is a significant holiday in Bali that commemorates the triumph of dharma over adharma. The Balinese people mark the occasion by offering prayers and making offerings to their ancestors. In my art piece, I have portrayed a penjor, a decorated bamboo pole with offerings that is prominently displayed on the streets during this festival. The artwork also features a person standing below the penjor.
Hungry Ghost Festival is a traditional belief observed in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, and other places, where it is believed that spirits return to the mortal world from the hell’s gate. People commemorate the occasion by burning joss paper, chanting, and making food offerings. In my art piece, I have portrayed a temporary theatre/shrine, which is built during the festival, and the patterns on the background of the artwork represent the spirits that have returned for this significant day.
Pitru Paksha is a sixteen-day religious event held in India, during which people honour their ancestors through food offerings. In my artwork, I have depicted the ritual food made for this day, which is later fed to animals. The crows depicted in my piece hold significant religious significance as they are believed to be sacred birds. It is said that without offering food to the crows, the souls of their ancestors cannot attain salvation.
Halloween is a widely celebrated holiday in the USA, traditionally believed to be a day when spirits return to the mortal world. Nowadays, people enjoy this occasion by wearing costumes and children go trick-or-treating. In my art piece, I have depicted a child trick-or-treating with a ghost, who is a departed family member.