Every year on the 15th day of the Ghost month the 7th month on the lunar calendar different Chinese communities situated in Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai Celebrate the Hungry Ghost Festival. This year the Ghost month starts on 11th August and lasts till 9th September and The Hungry Ghost Festival will take place on 25th of August.
According to the Chinese traditions the whole month is said to be a time when restless wandering spirits of ancestors are released into the realms of the real world to seek the worldly pleasures. Unlike Qingming Festival this festival mainly focuses on the ghost who were abandoned or murdered and also who committed suicide. The Ghost are said to be looking for relief and sometimes revenge from the people who cause harm to them when they were alive.
Chinese people believing this myth performs various offerings to these lost souls in order to bring peace to them including food, drinks, money and other entertainment. The festival follows the story of Mu Lian who was terrified to see his mother in the depths of hell and was told by Buddha to offer a prayer for her, so this ritual was performed on the 15th of the 7th lunar month by the Buddha and his disciples in result of which Mu Lian’s mother was released and thus has become a tradition.
Generally, the offerings last for the whole month but it is said that the extent of Ghost’s Hunger increases on the 15th night of the Ghost Month. The Festivities contain two main feasts one with the Family and second is the open offerings made for Hungry Ghosts. There are certain other traditions that Chinese people follow to ease the pains and suffering of these wandering spirits. We have mentioned some of them as following:
Burning Incense and Joss Paper:
It is said that nearly everywhere is a ghost that might harm you or not to be safe of that danger people often burn home made items of Joss paper it is said that its smells relax the minds of troubled souls. Fires are set at every corner of the streets.
Food offerings For Hungry Ghosts:
There are also food offerings beside all the other worldly pleasures. People leave off food on the street sides for any ghost who might pass by they are also offered sweets, tea and other eating items that may please the ghosts.
The Hungry Ghost Festival Feast:
As mentioned before because it is believed that the connection between living and dead is the strongest on the 15th night of the month people prepares gigantic feasts on the full moon night for the Hungry Ghost Festival. Feast have two main parts a family dinner where the seats for the deceased members of the families are left empty and other is the open feast usually held at the back yards of the houses.
Sending Ghosts off through Floating Lanterns:
Lanterns of different shapes and kinds are released into the sky at the Hungry Ghost Festival or at the last night of the Ghost Month so that ghosts can find their way back easily.
In order to praise the God and for the pleasure of the roving Ghosts different spur of the moment performances are performed by different Chinese communities. For the show there is a row of the seats reserved for the ghosts in the front other than that everyone is invited to sit anywhere.
How To Safeguard Yourself From Wandering Ghosts:
There are many superstitions that revolve around that can actually be quite helpful if you fear you’ll be attacked by a Ghost i.e. you can’t walk outside at night because there may be ghosts wondering around at that time, better avoid swimming in the pools for a while you never know when a ghost tries to drown you, also you can’t mess with the food offerings made for the ghost on the roadside, don’t sing or whistle or a ghost might answers just like that there is endless things that you can avoid is you don’t want interactions with nay of the ghosts.