Common knowledge

Yesterday on the way home, as the bus wound its way through the wooded parts on the perimeter of the NUS campus, it suddenly occurred to me that we are now into the the seventh month of the Chinese lunar calendar. For those not familiar with Chinese traditions, the seventh month is the the Hungry Ghosts Festival. According to folklore, the King of Ksitigarbha opens the gates of Hell on the first day of the seventh lunar month to set hungry spirits free to roam the world of the living for a month. Spooky…

Isn’t it kind of curious that despite the many differences that exist in various cultures – I am only thinking of ones with thousands of years in traditions here – almost all traditions have annual periods where “evil” reigns supreme? The concept of good versus evil in particular periods in a year is also prevalent in all cultures/religions?

Are these just lucky coincidences? Result of agricultural society where your livelihood depends on the whims of nature, and hence a god, or gods?

Or is it more appealing and romantic to imagine that all of this is the result of some historical event which took place in the very distant and common past? The knowledge that has been passed down as some form of genetic memory we, of all races, all share? Very intriguing indeed.

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