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The Ghost Festival in China

The Ghost Festival, also known as the Hungry Ghost Festival, or Yu Lan is a traditional Chinese festival and holiday celebrated by Chinese in many countries. In the Chinese calendar, the Ghost Festival is on the 15th night of the seventh lunar month (14th in southern China). it is a solemn holiday, the Ghost Festival represents the connections between the living and the dead, earth and heaven, body and soul. In Chinese tradition, The entire seventh month of the Chinese calendar is called the Ghost Month, a month in which ghosts and spirits are believed to emerge out from the lower world to visit earth.

The Activity in the Ghost Festival

Ghost FestivalActivities of the festival include preparing ritual offerings of food, and burning ghost money (or paper money) to please the visiting ghosts and spirits as well as deities and ancestors. Other activities include burying and releasing miniature paper boats and lanterns on water, which signifies "giving directions to the lost ghosts." Elaborate meals (often vegetarian meals) would be served with empty seats for each of the deceased in the family treating the deceased as if they are still living. Ancestor worship is what distinguishes Qingming Festival from Ghost Festival because the latter includes paying respects to all deceased, including the same and younger generations, while the former only includes older generations.

Ghost Festival in Ancient Time

In ancient Chinese culture, men and women think lunar July is actually a month for ghosts, a thing like Western culture's Halloween. It's believed that the gates of hell are thrown open, releasing hungry ghosts to wander on the earth in search of food. So people light up lanterns on roadsides, place lanterns in the river and supply shoes for the comfort of the ghosts. And some people pray for their ancestors to bless later generations.

Ghost Festival in Nowdays

These days, the Hungry Ghost Festival is a grand folk festival with cultural richness and functions sacrifice providing for the dead and ghosts, suffering relieving and forgiveness of sins. Probably the most important customs is floating lanterns on the river. The lanterns are often created of paper, inside the shape of a lotus flower, using a light or candle at the bottom. They are put on the river to drift wherever achievable, serving as guiding lights for wandering ghosts. Meanwhile, different activities for ancestor worshiping are held everywhere, such as repentance chanting, giving food to starving ghosts and staging operas for the occasion.