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The Hungry Ghost Festival: The Return of the Restless Spirits

A Look into the Practices of Taoists and Buddhists During the Festival

The Hungry Ghost Festival, also known as the Ghost Festival, is a significant event in the Chinese lunar calendar that marks the seventh month. It is celebrated by both Taoists and Buddhists and is a time to honor the deceased. The festival is based on the Chinese folklore belief that during this time, restless spirits roam the earth and the deceased visit the living.

The activities during the festival involve preparing ritualistic food offerings, burning incense, and burning various items such as fake paper money, clothes, coins, cars, and tech gadgets. The offerings are made to provide sustenance for the spirits and to ease their suffering. On the fifteenth day of the festival, it is believed that the gates of Heaven and Hell open, allowing the spirits to roam freely on earth.

Taoists and Buddhists alike perform rituals to help transmute and absolve the suffering of the deceased. The rituals are believed to bring peace and comfort to the spirits and help them move on to the afterlife.

Matteo Damiani took the images of the festival in 2008 and provides a personal perspective on the event. The urban village where he took the images was later demolished to make way for a hospital and residential complexes. This provides a glimpse into the changing landscape of urbanization in China and the fate of urban villages. If you are interested in exploring this topic further, you may read the photo report titled “China Suburbia.”

Images of the Hungry Ghost Festival in China

Topics: Hungry Ghost Festival,chinese folklore,chinese ghosts,images of china,chinese lunar calendar,taoism,buddhism

Last Updated on 2023/02/12

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