The Festival of the Hungry Ghosts, also known as the festival of ghosts, is a traditional event conducted in Hong Kong. It is a Chinese festival celebrated in most parts of Asia on the on the 15th of the seventh month. The fifteenth day of the calendar is recognized as the Ghost Day and the seventh month of every year is considered the Ghost Month.
In Chinese tradition, devotees pay homage to their ancestors who are recognized as spirits and ghosts. On the day of the festival, it is known that the ghosts visit the living as a mark of the sacrifices made during the celebration. Although the festival is related to Chinese folk culture, the Buddhists and Taoists also celebrate it by performing different acts and sacrifices to call out the dead from either in heaven or hell.
Those honouring the dead ritualistically proffer vegetables, old clothes and fine goods for the visiting spirit of each family and perform rituals in their honour, such as burning joss paper, incense lighting and burning fake money. Meals are laid out on the empty spaces of the family table as if in invitation to the departed who may be roaming the halls of their homes.
Another fascinating sight of the Ghost Festival is the décor splashed across the streets and homes. A unique institution of the festival is also seen, where people head towards the streams with paper boats and paper lit lanterns that are floated across the water, to allow a lost sprit or ghost to find its way back to their families.
However, the celebration of ghosts also comes with a few superstitions, some of which forbid children to stay out on the streets at night and a no-swimming policy during the festival due to ancient tales where ghosts tend to posses young children and drown people who swim.
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