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The Hungry Ghost Festival

Updated on October 25, 2010




The ghost festival is one of the famous and traditional festivals in china; this festival is also known as hungry ghost festival and celebrated by Chinese in different parts of the world especially in China, Singapore, and Malaysia. According to Chinese calendar this festival celebrated on 15th night of the seventh lunar month and in south china the 14th night of the seventh lunar month, this seventh month is generally referred as a ghost month respective to the 15 day as ghost day.



The Taoists and Buddhists believe that on the ghost day their deceased relatives visit them, and praying for them and commencing the religious ceremony will calm and relieve their deceased from the sufferings or endure evil. The believers planned and cooked special meals for their deceased relatives and reserve seats at the dining for them, these empty seats then served as their deceased relative are alive. During this they talk to to their ancestors spirits and send them love and messages about missing them from all the family members. Small paper boats and lanterns (decorative casing for a light) are also released in rivers on water, which indicate or show the directions to the lost ghosts of the ancestors about how to reach them.

In china the Buddhist also celebrate this festival, both Buddhist and Taoists believe to be the originator of this festival, in Buddhist this festival is know as Ullambana, with the passage of time Ullambana and The Ghost festival become merged and now a days both celebrate it together.

As mention above this festival celebrated in seventh lunar month, when moon become full and the harvesting for the new season is started. The locals start gathering on different places as in this month the ghosts become released and the doors of the earth get open for them. They are free to go in any place but normally they visit the places where they can find food and entertainment. Another belief is that these ghosts are the spirits of those whom relatives forget them and never pray for them. The families of the deceased pleased to invite their relatives spirits and offer them food and drinks, and warmly welcome them in the world by burning currency notes (Fake), incenses and value able items, normally these items and currency is not real and made of joss papers, some times the believers burns the model of the houses, cars and televisions made of joss papers to please their deceased relatives.

Now a day in some eastern countries the live concerts being held for the entertainment of the ghosts and the invitation is open for every one. The first row in front of the stage is deliberately kept empty so the ghost will sit there. Normally this type of concerts and performances happens in night with the loud music so the ghost will attract toward them.


After fourteen days from the end of this festival people release lanterns in water to make sure that all ghosts had returned to their world. During this festival some Chinese avoid swimming and if some one don’t avoid they believe that ghost will sink them in water. Further on this festival the old people strictly advice their kids not be out in the late night, as they think that the wandering spirits in the out will capture their kids. That’s why in seven lunar month all swimming pools, shopping malls, beaches and parks become bleak, and very lone and desolately.

This month is also not use to be got marry and for opening a new business, as the common perception is that if a business open in this month will loss and if a marriage take place will break


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    • haidry profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      thanks for the time taken to motivate my efforts.

    • NCBIer profile image


      7 years ago

      Interesting hub! I've been to China, but never for a ghost festival or even ghost month. Thank you for such detailed information and photos.


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