~ Ghost Festival ~
Festival Date - 31 AUG 2012
Celebrated on the 15th day of the
7th Lunar month. On this day it is believed that the "Gates of Hell"
are opened and that the dead return to visit their living relatives.
The Chinese feel that they have to satisfy the imprisoned and hungry
ghosts in order to get good fortune and luck in their lives.
Historically, families have offered sacrifices of
newly harvested grain to departed ancestors on this day, which also
coincides with the Buddhist Ullambana, Deliverance, Festival and the
Taoist Ghost Festival, called "Chung Yuan" in Taoist terminology.
Since each of these traditions in some way honours the spirits of the
departed, the seventh lunar month has come to be known as Ghost
Month, celebrated as a time when the "Good Brethren", ghosts from
the underworld, come back to earth to feast on the victuals offered
by the living. Over time the Ullambana Festival and Ghost Festival
have melded together to become the present day Chung Yuan Putu or
"Mid-origin Passage to Universal Salvation."
The festival is currently celebrated with ceremonies at homes,
temples, associations, and guilds. Prayers are offered to the dead
and offerings of food such as chicken, vegetables, fruits, bean curd
and white rice are placed at street corners and roadsides to appease
the spirits. This is believed to prevent the wandering spirits from
entering their homes and causing disturbances in their households.
Offerings are also made by burning replica money notes, which are
also known as hell money. Some families also burn paper houses,
cars and even paper television or radio sets to give to their dead
relatives. The Chinese feel that these offerings reach the ghosts
and help them live comfortably in their world
information - details - regarding