Some Occasional Rites Performed by the Singapore Cantonese

Marjorie Topley

Edited by Jean DeBernardi

in Cantonese Society in Hong Kong and Singapore

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9789888028146
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882206663 | DOI:
Some Occasional Rites Performed by the Singapore Cantonese

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This chapter deals with some of the rites performed by the Cantonese in Singapore with the object of overcoming illness and misfortune. The rites selected for description are in all cases specific to the sufferer, and are enacted only when help is required. The term occasional is used here in this sense, to distinguish them from festival rites and the type of performances of a spirit medium which take place regularly and are attended by many people. They also differ from other rites in that they can be performed alone by the person who hopes to benefit from them, or who wishes to benefit some other person in whose welfare they are interested. Even when the rites to be described are performed by a priest, the person paying for the rite is an active participant.

Keywords: rites; Cantonese; Singapore; illness; misfortune; festival rites; spirit medium

Chapter.  8927 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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