Hungry Ghost Festival...

~ Posted on Tuesday, August 24, 2010 at 9:35 PM ~

Oh yes, ghosts get hungry too... *eyes rolling*

Anyway, I'd just like to share some thoughts on the Hungry Ghost Festival which is celebrated by a lot of Chinese. According to Wikipedia,

"The Ghost Festival also known as the Hungry Ghost Festival is a traditional Chinese festival and holiday celebrated by Chinese in many countries. In the Chinese calendar (a lunisolar calendar), the Ghost Festival is on the 15th night of the seventh lunar month (14th in southern China).

In Chinese tradition, the fifteenth day of the seventh month in the lunar calendar is called Ghost Day and the seventh month in general is regarded as the Ghost Month (鬼月), in which ghosts and spirits, including those of the deceased ancestors, come out from the lower realm. Distinct from both the Qingming Festival (in Spring) and Chung Yeung Festival (in Autumn) in which living descendants pay homage to their deceased ancestors, on Ghost Day, the deceased are believed to visit the living.

On the fifteenth day the realms of Heaven and Hell and the realm of the living are open and both Taoists and Buddhists would perform rituals to transmute and absolve the sufferings of the deceased. Intrinsic to the Ghost Month is ancestor worship, where traditionally the filial piety of descendants extends to their ancestors even after their deaths.

Activities during the month would include preparing ritualistic food offerings, burning incense, and burning joss paper, a papier-mache form of material items such as clothes, gold and other fine goods for the visiting spirits of the ancestors. 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. Other festivities may include, buying and releasing miniature paper boats and lanterns on water, which signifies giving directions to the lost ghosts and spirits of the ancestors and other deities."


What I can remember was whenever the 7th lunar month approaches, the old folks will be telling us to come home early (if possible not to go out at night too), be careful if we're travelling at night and not to eat any roadside food. I also remembered accompanying my dad to clean up his parent's tombs (chopping off the weeds and bringing foods for offering) and we would also be burning up joss sticks and those joss papers.

Some Chinese who can afford it will actually buy those papier-mache items to burn for their deceased family members. Just look at the following pictures I got from the Google image search... I'm not kidding you, these are some of the things that got burned which is believed will be sent over to the deceased family members and ancestors..

  Hell notes...

  Clothings... even dentures!

  Luxury cars with driver too!

  Motorbike to cruise in hell?

  Wow! A laptop too!

  Washing machine!

Since I became a Christian about 5 years ago, I no longer celebrated or participated in this festival and have often wondered whether it is necessary to be burning all these stuff.

I mean, I absolutely get it if you want to pay respect to your ancestors or deceased family members but to the extent of burning all these stuff? Sigh.... I don't know what else to say...

Do you think it is necessary to have all this?

Comments (10) -


Gosh, I didn't know about this festival until now. Well, I don't want to sound mean but seriously, this is not at all sane. The deceased members wouldn't have time to enjoy the burnt stuff!


Hi I'm the Guest Host from Follow me Back Tuesday just stopping by &  returning your follow. Sure hope you checked out my give-aways too! Thanks for hooking up with us today!  Hope to see you next Tuesday too!  It's so fun to meet new people! So HI! Nice to meet ya! Now I must go browse a bit, and keep hopping! Have a great day!  What an interesting Post.  I learned something today.  I didn't know about that festival!  I love to learn cool stuff about different cultures.  This is definitely cool!

I'm a full-time mummy

Hello Nostalgic!
Yup... I do wonder too where will they have time to enjoy the burnt stuff?!

Hi XmasDolly!
Thanks for hopping over. Glad you like this post! Enjoy your day! Smile


This is interesting.  I agree with you, we don't need the stuff in our afterlife that we use now.  But. . . wouldn't it be fun to have a laptop in heaven too?  I could be blogger buddies with the apostles!

Night Owl Mama

Hello dropping in from FOLLOW me back Tuesday. I'm your newest follower.

HOPE you'll stop on by. See you then.


It's really interesting the different ways each culture honors the dead. But a bike? Really?

I've got a blog award for you over at my place.

Nensa Moon

Hi jenny,
Its very interesting post! I've heard and watched on movie/TV about burning some kind of a thing  on Hungry ghost festival.. but I think that's all just toys, not a real thing...
Is that true, Jenny... I mean such kind of  laptop... its real laptop..and really be burned?? OMG!!

but maybe that's the culture and traditions of  Chinese  in honor of his ancestors ... however we must appreciate it!

I'm a full-time mummy

Hello Night Owl Mama!
Thanks for the follow! I've returned the favor! Smile

Hi Joanna!
Yeah... even a laptop for the techie types... Tong Thanks for the award btw! Appreciate it!

Hi Nensa!
Those things that the Chinese burn are made of paper. So, the pictures of cars, bike, laptop and all are made of paper. Interesting huh?


My dad's side is buddhist so for a while, my grandma burned fake money when we visited the cemetary. But when my grandma was baptised a few years ago, she stopped doing it. I've never heard of the hungry ghost festival though! And never heard of such elaborate things to burn! I  guess it is all what one believes to be true and what one believes is respecting your ancestors and that's how you figure out what's necessary!

I'm a full-time mummy

Hi Steph!
Last time, Chinese used to burn joss sticks and joss papers, but I guess as we get more modern nowadays, even those joss papers stuff gets a new modern twist... hence all this papier-mache items to be burn!

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