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7th Lunar Month Of Lonely Spirits – Hungry Ghost Festival – Vu Lan Jie
August 22, 2017 - September 19, 2017Free
The 5th September 2017 Ghost Festival is a traditional Buddhist and Taoist festival held in Asian countries during the seventh month of the Chinese calendar. It also falls at the same time as a full moon, the fall harvest and the peak of Buddhist monastic asceticism.
During this month, the gates of hell are opened and ghosts are free to roam the earth where they seek food and entertainment. These ghosts are believed to be ancestors of those who forgot to pay tribute to them after they died or those who were never given a proper ritual send-off. They have long needle-thin necks because they have not been fed by their family, or as a punishment so that they are unable to swallow. Family members offer prayers, food and burn hell bank notes to their deceased relatives.
A feast is held for the ghosts on the 14th day of the 7th month when people bring food (often vegan) for an offering table to please the ghosts and ward off bad luck. Lotus-shaped lanterns are lit and set afloat in rivers to symbolically guide the lost souls of forgotten ancestors to the afterlife. During the month restaurants serve elaborate meals which are often vegan.