Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween

On the Eve of Halloween and who knew? The Taiwanese love it. Students and teachers have decked the school out in dangling skeletons, severed bloody heads, hovering vampire bats, and glow in the dark jack-o-lanterns. It’s a sight to behold. The students know all the stories: That Frankenstein was really a doctor who took body parts from graves, the Mummy was once an Egyptian king entombed with all his gold, a Werewolf only howls by light of the full moon. It is impressive, their knowledge of western culture. We spend the last day of the week bobbing for apples, trick or treating each class door, and painting our faces like monsters.
One of the teachers told me the reason the Taiwanese are so into this holiday as opposed to Christmas or Valentines is that they actually believe in ghosts. Twice a month, according to the lunar calendar, ghost money is burned in urns outside businesses and homes. Yellow paper bills with different images of rice bowls, cakes, shoes, and games, things that ghost ancestors would need to keep themselves healthy and well as they watch over the living.

It is a bit creepy, mind you. This is made even stranger when students begin speaking openly about seeing ghosts in everyday life. “There is my grandmother who sleeps in the upstairs room. We see her rocking in the chair even though she has been dead for years,” Taylor, a neat and tidy looking 7th grader admits. “My father’s brother visits on New Years,” Kevin, another eager 7th grader states. “Sometimes he brings me gifts I find under my pillow in the morning.”
“Oh really,” I ask. “How are you so sure it is him?”
Kevin’s face suddenly becomes very serious as all the other students lean in toward him.
“Because he kisses my forehead before he leaves, and I always awake to see the door close behind his shadow.”
I let it go. I guess, I like the idea of ghosts too much to disagree.


  1. Wow !

    It was so fun that day !!


  2. hi ~ we're sunny and kt
    i am a honey bee!!and i am japaneese !!