The seventh moon in the lunar calendar is when restless spirits are said to roam the earth, and when the believers make efforts to appease the ghosts and ancestors – particularly during the Hungry Ghost Festival itself.
In some areas of Hong Kong, visitors can see small roadside fires, where believers burn fake money and make other offerings to the restless spirits and their ancestors. Special food is often prepared to feed the hungry ghosts.
Yu Lan Ghost Festival of the Hong Kong Chiu Chow Community: There are about 1.2 million people originating from Chiu Chow in Hong Kong. As they miss their families and ancestors deeply, they actively carry on their traditions. During the ghost festival which lasts for a month every year, the Chiu Chow people in Hong Kong organise the Yun Lan Festival which starts from the first day of the seventh lunar month until the end of that month. The festival has been held for more than 100 years. The main activity in the festival is to offer sacrifices to ancestors and the wandering ghosts in the netherworld. The activities also include burning incense and joss papers, performing live Chinese operas and dramas for ghosts, and distributing free rice. These performances usually take place in parks, piazzas, pitches or other sufficiently spacious places. Song and performance stages and a sacrificial altar are set up at each venue and the dramas are mainly in Chiu Chow style. Other performing arts and handicraft making are also held. Activities in relation to the Chiu Chow Yu Lan Festival are held at 60 different places in the territory.
The Yu Lan Festival had been inscribed onto China’s third national list of intangible cultural heritage in 2011.