Festival of the Hungry Ghosts Hong Kong

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According to ancient Chinese tradition, on the 15th day of the seventh moon, the gates of Hades burst open, unleashing restless spirits, or 'Hungry Ghosts'. In Hong Kong, offerings to the ghosts range from material possessions to opera performances. The offerings that adorn the streets, graveyards and beaches are intricate paper models of worldly possessions such as high-tech household goods or sometimes entire wardrobes and musical instruments. These offerings are burned and the fires, visible across Hong Kong, create a truly eerie and wondrous spectacle.

In Hong Kong, the Hungry Ghost Festival is a major Buddhist and Taoist event. Hungry ghosts are the restless spirits of people who did not have a funeral. There is no one visiting their graves and they do not receive the gifts that Chinese people would take to their ancestors to pay respects. They miss out on food and spirit money. To stop the ghosts causing problems for the living, many communities provide them with food to appease them. The ghosts feed first but the food does not disappear. Then the living eat the offerings and pray for good luck.

Every year the Chinese people believe that the gate of hell will open and ghosts are allowed to roam the earth during the lunar month. During July / August , Hungry Ghost festival or "Yue Lan" takes place in many areas in Hong Kong. In each area, it lasts three days. Taai Si Wong has a notebook and acts as the festival's policeman to ensure the ghosts are behaving and everything at the festival has been completed properly. The effigy of Taai Si Wong is burnt with joss paper to send him back to hell when the Hungry Ghost Festival is over.

Sacrificial offerings are made by burning fake money notes, known as hell money, and even paper television or radio sets. Some families also burn paper houses and cars to give to their dead relatives. The Chinese feel that these offerings reach the ghosts and help them live comfortably in their world. Some presents for the restless spirits are sent to the underworld through fire. So food, paper clothing and spirit money are all burned for the ghosts. Altars are built with bamboo poles. Taoist priests will take place to recite passages from sacred books to ease hungry ghosts. The Taoist priest recites passages from sacred books loudly to help the Hungry Ghosts to transmigrate to a new life. They pray to the ghosts for peace, harmony, and happy living. They hope the hungry ghosts will not disturb them in the future.

During the Ghost festival days, the big Dragon Joss Stick is often used. This huge joss stick is supposed to last during the festival duration, i.e. 3 days. This festival also features local celebrations such as Chinese opera. Throughout this month Chinese people do their best to avoid late nights to steer clear of the spirits. Popular venues are King George V Memorial Park in Kowloon and Moreton Terrace Playground in Causeway Bay. The one month during the festival is considered as a period of bad luck and Chinese people will avoid moving house, buying car or home, getting married, changing careers, or doing anything affect their life in the long-term.

It is in Chinese Tradition to never forget the dead and to honor them with regular ceremonials. The Yue Lan (Hungry Ghosts) is a period to respect the restless dead and to protect the living.

The author is an entertainment news editor and works for many websites related to event, bollywood, music, movie, concerts and theater. Visit one more interesting article of author: Paint Ball - by DJ Chico & DJ Sasha or http://www.buzzintown.com/bangalore/event_paint-ball-dj-chico-dj-sasha--id_128191.html

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