Hungry Ghosts

Taai Si Wong presides over the festival reports to the King of Diyu about the conduct of the spirits during their month back on Earth.

The seventh lunar month is when the gates of Diyu 地獄 Diyu translates literally as earth prison) open and the inhabitants of hell may roam freely in the land of the living.

All those who are in Diyu are given a free pass. These include spirits undergoing punishment for their sins and being prepared for reincarnation. However, for an outsider who is not actively involved in the rituals and observations of the seventh lunar month, it seems that the focus tends to be on ‘hungry’ ghosts. In fact, this festival is one of several practised by the Chinese to revere their ancestors. (The others include Qingming festival 清明節 and the Double Ninth festival 重陽節, which I will cover in separate posts.)

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