Seventh Month rituals in central Malaysia
Coffin rituals and the releasing of exorcised spirits
in Voices from the Underworld
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Returning to central Malaysia to describe two ritual events, Chapter 9 serves to compare south and central Malaysia’s Seventh Month ritual events. The first ethnography recounts a night-time luck-promoting ‘coffin ritual’ in Kuala Lumpur where participants lie in a coffin, symbolically dying and entering the Underworld when the coffin lid is closed and re-entering the world of the living as the coffin lid is removed. The ritual is described from the perspective of both participant and observer. As the coffin ritual was appropriated from contemporary Thai Theravada Buddhism, the analysis further examines Thai transnational cultural flows. The second ethnography revisits Klang to recount the ritual release of exorcised spirits which have been trapped in Guinness bottles and stored in the prison cell in the temple’s Underworld recreation. The chapter concludes by discussing Di Ya Pek’s perceptions of the relative passage of time in the Underworld, and an alternative interpretation of the Chinese Underworld’s creation.

Voices from the Underworld

Chinese Hell deity worship in contemporary Singapore and Malaysia

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