Ghost Festival / Zhongyuan Festival 中元节

Ghost Festival (Chinese:鬼节), or Zhongyuan Festival (Chinese:中元节) in Chinese, is specified at the date of July 15th in Chinese lunar calendar, though it is celebrated on various dates of lunar July in different regions.

Ghost Festival has something to do with the sacrifice of Buddhism and took shape in Song Dynasty (960-1279). It is also a festival to worship ancestors and deceased relatives and show filial piety just as the Tomb-sweeping Festival. According to the Chinese saying, the souls of departed ancestors are released from Purgatory back to the earth for about one month in July. It is said that those ignored by relatives may do acts of mischief, therefore, people show their respect to souls of dead, also called ghosts with offering of Zhiqian (Chinese:纸钱, paper made to resemble money and burned as an offering to the dead), houses with furniture made of papers, joss sticks and food during the festival. Ghost are believed the dominator of events by people, so auspicious activities like weddings and business opening are not held during this period.

River lanterns are also popular during Ghost festival in some regions. People make river lanterns with fruits peels and papers in different shapes with a candle; some are also equipped with a paper person standing on. At night, these river lanterns are put into the river and flew down that the rivers looks bright with lights.

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