Ghost banishing

There are many different customs all over the world. These customs are different based on the different beliefs of countries, nations, ethnic groups and religions. However, many of us believe in the same things, that is the existence of the God as well as the existence of ghosts. Most of us think that ghosts come from the death of creatures (living organisms) and they have terrifying (frightening) characters.

I would like to introduce the ghost banishing (removing ghosts) custom of my native village. My native village is one of the villages in the Bago Yoma mountain range. All villagers are Buddhists except some Kayin people. Our villagers hold a ghost banishing festival on the first day of Myanmar New Year. We have been holding this festival every year since a long time ago.

In the evening of this day, all the monks in the village chant (say or shout something repeatedly) the Dhamma loudly and simultaneously walk around the village. They request that the ghosts leave the village and not to distract and threaten the villagers. The villagers place items, such as water, flowers, threads, sand, rice, onions in front of the monks. They assume that all of the things that they placed in front of the monks will be invested with the power to prevent the ghosts. They believe that by tying the wrists and the necks of children with threads, the ghosts cannot distract the children, and by showering water or sand around their compounds, the ghosts will leave their compounds.

Early in the night, the villagers switch the lighting off and make a bonfire at the entrance of each compound. The villagers begin shouting “hey, hey” continuously. Children are beating the metal pots and dogs are howling (crying of animals) horribly. At this moment, all around the village, it is quite noisy and scary. Then, some villagers holding a torch (a burning thing) each and one villager with a basket run along towards the graveyard. Along the way, other villagers wait and put some foodstuffs into the basket which will be taken to the graveyard as food for the ghosts. When the men arrive in the graveyard (a burial ground), they put the food basket and the torches down on the ground. A man then requests that the ghosts live peacefully in the graveyard and to not return into the village. Then, the villagers extinguish the torches and return to the village. The night is turned back to normal again.

After this event, the villagers believe there are no ghosts in the village, and they feel safe. This belief may be right or wrong, it does not matter. We do what we believe. A common belief becomes the custom among those people who believe in it. What is important is that a custom must not be harmful to people.


Find the nine words in the text to match the meanings below

  1. sending away from a place (paragraph 2)

  2. at the same time (paragraph 3)

  3. ask (paragraph 3)

  4. cause someone to stop concentrating (paragraph 3)

  5. tell someone you will hurt them (paragraph 3)

  6. put energy, money or time into something (paragraph 3)

  7. without stopping (paragraph 4)

  8. to stop something burning (paragraph 4)

  9. dangerous (paragraph 5)

When you are ready, please enter your answers in the sheet below


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