In the month of August (that's the seventh month of the Chinese Lunar
Calendar) the Chinese believe, that the gates of hell will open.
dead souls (the Hungry Ghosts) will be released and roam the streets of the
living in this month. Children and young toddlers should be kept from going
out of the house, because the "Hungry Ghosts" could lure them to
the kingdom of the dead.
Having a wedding or moving to another house during
this period is considered as bad luck and should never be practiced.
And God forbid that one should die during this month!
Going to the beach for example, would not be allowed, because many
tragedies have taken place in the sea, and evil ghosts may be
eager to take more lives!
festival of the Hungry Ghosts
is celebrated in great scale by
the Chinese in Penang. There are many makeshift altars and stages put up along various roads in Georgetown.
this period, which is especially
prominent during the 14th and
15th day of the Chinese
seventh month, devotees will
prepare glorious food to
give that to the dead souls.
The Chinese will ‘invite’ their dead relatives for a meal and burn joss sticks, hell money in
surprisingly large denominations, daily essentials of paper clothes, shoes, TV, radio, and even
cars and other luxuries. Such practice is done to ensure that their present generation and
generations to come would be blessed, and free from any imminent harm.
All ghosts must be fed and entertained.
Another aspect of this celebration among the Chinese community everywhere, would be the stage operas
and other musical performances, said to provide entertainment for these dead
souls. Such is the grandeur of the occasion and regarded closely by many.
The 30th day of the seventh moon is the last day of the festival .At midnight, the ghosts
return to Hades and the gates are shut after them. Paper deities, money, and other goodies are
burnt in a giant bonfire as a final gift.
There are many places where the food, that they offered, is then given to the poor.
The Chinese will resume their daily activities after this
period. With a sense of relief and ease, faced with the confidence that they have
fulfilled their duties towards their dead ancestors.