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Chinese Festivals: Ghost Festival

Chinese culture has a rich background of folklore, myths, superstitions, festivals and celebrations. The Chinese observe the 15th day of the seventh lunar month as an important day to offer feast to the ghost. It is one of the five major cultural festivals in the culture of china.

The seventh month in the Chinese calendar is religiously observed as the Ghost festival or the Hungry ghost festival in china. The literal meaning of the festival is that during this particular month, the gate of hell is opened to allow the spirits and ghost to wander and seek food on

earth. It is a common festival in the southern part of china. The festival is marked as a serious festival in Chinese culture. The Chinese believe that the ghost goes back to their original place after a month of merry making.

On the day of the festival, the Chinese remember the dead members of their family and offer a number of things to please them. They burn things made of paper like money, radio, television, cars and houses. They believe that the burned things reach the place of hell and make the ghost live a comfortable life. They offer prayers and pay tribute to them and to other wandering spirits and ghosts. It is believed that the spirits and the ghost will not interfere in their daily chores and prevent them from any misfortune or bad luck. People try to satisfy the spirits and the wandering ghost in every possible way. They believe that by satisfying them, it will help bring good luck and fortune in their lives.

During the night, people offer foods and drink outside the gate to the deceased member of the family. This is to make sure that the ghost stays outside the house. Lanterns are lit up to make the ghost set out the special feast prepared for them. Traditional food like the steamed sweet bread is feed to the spirits and ghosts.

Entertainment like Chinese operas is performed on outdoor stages. The events are held at night. People dance and sing with high volumes. This is performed with the belief that the loud music will help to please and attract the wandering ghost. The night is filled with the sounds and music. The front seat is always left empty and it is especially reserved for the ghosts and spirits.

The Ghost festival is associated with many superstitious beliefs in the Chinese culture. The month is considered as inauspicious to start anything new in life. Generally, people do not move to new houses, start business and plan for marriage in the month. People seldom travel and because of this, the traveling agencies suffered a serious blow in their business. People do not go out for swimming. It is feared that the ghost might drown the person in the swimming pool. Children return early to their homes for the fear that the wandering ghost may possess them.

The ghost festival is a traditional Chinese festival and bears a little resemblance with the "Qingming" festival of china. It is an important cultural festival in china.

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