Hungry Ghost Festival

Hungry ghost festivals traditionally are held in China beginning on the 15th day of the 7th lunar month. Hungry ghosts are insatiably hungry creatures born into a miserable existence because of their greed.

According to Chinese folklore, the unhappy dead walk among the living throughout the month and must be placated with food, incense, fake paper money, and even cars and homes, also paper and burned as offerings. This is also a traditional time to honor the memories of departed loved ones, unhappy or not.

The end of “ghost month” is observed as the birthday of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva.

The man in the photograph is placing a floating candle on Shichahai Lake in Beijing, China, to pay respects to deceased ancestors.  (

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