same to the Halloween of Christian,Ghost Festival in China called zhongyuan festival.Like people all over the world, the Chinese have special customs regarding dead people and their ghosts that are thousands of years old.
when is chinese ghost festival
the zhongyuan festival on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month,This day falls in July or August in our Western calendar.In Chinese culture, the fifteenth day of the seventh month in the lunar calendar is called Ghost Day and the seventh month in general is regarded as the Ghost Month, in which ghosts and spirits, including those of deceased ancestors, come out from the lower realm.
How is the chinese Ghost Festival celebrated?
Floating water lantern
Among the various folk customs of the Zhongyuan Festival, the floating water lantern is the grandest. The water lantern, also called lotus lantern, is usually made into a lotus shape. Then a lamp or candle is placed inside. On the night of the Zhongyuan Festival, lanterns are released into rivers or lakes.
Chinese used to hang out lanterns to memorize the ghosts as well as their ancestors. Chinese think that human beings belong to yang while ghosts and water belong to yin. The dark and mysterious underworld usually reminds people of the gloomy sepulchral hell where the ghosts suffer. So lanterns are floated on the waters
Burning paper “money”
It is said that in folklore that departed ancestors will be released by Yama for half a month. As a result, there is a custom to welcome ancestors at the beginning of July and send them off on July 15. When sending off the spirits, people will burn a lot of paper “money” so ancestors can spend it in the nether world. They will also insert some paper “money” into an envelope on which the user’s name has been written. The envelope will be burnt for sacrifice.
A popular folk custom during the festival requires that a grandfather or uncle on the mother’s side send a live goat to his grandson or nephew. Legend has it that the custom has something to do with the myth of Chenxiang Saving His Mother from the Mountain. The custom has gradually evolved into sending a pair of flour goats.
The festival is quite popular among Chinese and is celebrated not only on the Chinese mainland, but also in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Besides, it has spread to and is celebrated in Thailand, Japan, North Korea, Singapore and Malaysia.
what is zhongyuan festival different from Halloween
The zhongyuan festival comes at a time of year when the moon is full near the end of summer. In many ways, this festival is reminiscent of Halloween or the Night of the Dead in Western countries.
Cultures from Europe to China have traditional days of the dead or ghost days that are thousands of years old that were part of the tribal folk religions before the advent of Christianity in Europe and Buddhism in Asia. In Britain, Halloween originated from the traditional holiday of Celts in Great Britain who believed that the last day of October was “the day of the dead” or “the ghost day” when ghosts crossed over the boundary between the living and the dead. The Chinese belief is similar.
Chinese believe that on the days of Ghost Month and especially on the night of the full moon there is more of a bridge between the dead and the living, so they must take precautions or honor the dead. They perform ceremonies or traditions to protect themselves from attacks or pranks by the ghosts and to honor and worship their ancestors or famous people of the past. It is believed that the ghosts of dead people can help and protect them.