中元节 (zhōng yuán jié) – Ghost festival
Ghost Festival 中元节 (zhōng yuán jié) is celebrated on the 15th day of the 7th lunar month (also known as ghost month), this year it fell on September the 2nd. It is believed that on this day all ghosts would come out of hell, hence the name. During Qingming Festival, Spinrg Festival and Double Ninth Festival usually people worship ancestors, during Ghost Festival instead offerings are made to any spirit. Some of them go back to their families, ghosts without families instead will wander on the streets. This is why the families will offer food and burn incense for their ancestors as well as for the wandering ghosts to avoid being harmed by them. On the evening of Ghost day, people would make lanterns and float them on the rivers, to help ghosts find the way back home, some people write the names of the ancestors on the lanterns.
Some things to avoid during Ghost month, especially during Ghost festival, are:
- As the month is considered to be inauspicious, don’t move to new houses, start new businesses or get married;
- Do not step on or kick the offerings by the roadside. If you do, you should apologize aloud to make it alright;
- Do not wear red as it might attract ghosts;
- Don’t sing and whistle as it may attract ghosts;
- If you are born during ghost month, avoid celebrating your birthday at night. It’s better to celebrate during the daytime.