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Chinese Culture >> Chinese Society Traditions >> Chinese Halloween

Chinese Halloween

Just as the West has Halloween for ghosts and ghouls, so also does the East have a holiday to fete the departed spirits of the underworld : Also known as the Ghost Festival, a popular occasion celebrated throughout China on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month. Historically, families offer sacrifices of the newly harvested grain to departed ancestors on this day

Chinese Halloween lasts more than one day. It starts from the first of July (Lunar calendar) and ends on the 14th of July.

The Chinese believe that during this two-weeks period, the gate of the underworld is opened. Many spirits wander around in human world and they are looking for substitutes so that they can go back to the human world again.

Parents would warn their kids not to go swim in those beaches which recently someone has drowned during this period. And wherever walking alone at night, you should say “Excuse Me” whenever you suddenly change direction even though there is nobody on the street.

Moreover, the Red-light district is especially aware of those spirits during this period (I don’t understand why those spirits like to harass the prostitutes). The pimps would burn extra quantity of paper money (denominated in billions) outside those nightclubs and strip joints.

The weirdest thing is that many villages like to invite Cantonese opera to perform in open space during this period.

Another favorite activity was to drive by a mortuary on the remote western side of HK island during this period where some coffins had laid inside for two, three or even four decades (some tycoons have waited and still waited for the Feng Shui Master to choose the best grave site for their deceased parents). I guarantee any girls would scare to death and hug you tightly.

Coincidentally Japan also has the same Ghost Festival at roughly the same time. They call it Obon while Cantonese call it Yu Lan.