New AIT director holds Pudu ceremony to observe Ghost Festival

American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director Sandra Oudkirk took part in a traditional Taiwanese ritual on Sunday, to commemorate the spirits of the deceased, during the annual Ghost Month.

Oudkirk, the de facto American ambassador to Taiwan, and her deputy Jeremy Cornforth took part in a “Zhongyuan Pudu” ritual on the AIT Taipei compound, making food offerings and burning incense to honor those who have passed on, according to the AIT Facebook page.

The AIT table of offerings to the spirits included fruits, various dishes, soft drinks, beer, and flowers, flowers, photos on the Facebook page showed.

Oudkirk and Cornforth, who both took up their posts in July, also offered the spirits joss paper that represented Taiwan and American dollars, observing for the first time a traditional Ghost Month ritual in Taiwan.

Other employees at AIT also took part in the Pudu ceremony to pay homage to the spirits in the area.

In Taiwanese culture, Ghost Month is the seventh month on the lunar calendar and is being marked Aug. 8 to Sept. 6 this year, with the Ghost Festival observed Aug. 22.

According to local folklore, the gates of the underworld usually open during Ghost Month and the spirits are released to visit their families and loved ones or just roam around.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel