Ghost Month in Taiwan
Ghost Festival (also Hungry Ghost Festival) is a traditional Chinese folk religions festival. For 2019, Taiwan celebrates this festival on August 15th.
The 7th month is regarded in the Chinese calendar as the month when the realms of Heaven and Hell are open and ghosts (or spirits) of the decided people wonder among us. The ghosts are hungry and they want entertainment, that’s why during the whole month, Buddhists and Taoists in China make special practices to give the ghosts what they want and also hold services to release these souls. The culmination of the festival is on the 15th day, when people bring food for the ghosts.
Special activities during the month include burning joss paper. It’s believed, that this paper after burning is used by ghosts, that’s why special banknotes, houses and a papier-mâché form of clothes, gold and other goods are burned.
A special loud entertainment show is also organized for the ghosts at night. It usually includes Chinese opera, dramas and burlesque shows. The shows are very loud, because the sound attracts the ghosts. After the end of the festival people float water lanterns or set them outside of their houses making sure that the ghosts find their way back home.
There are many taboos that have to be remembered during the festival: never stroll at night, don’t swim, don’t move to new house or start a new business, don’t hang clothes outside at night, don’t pick up money found on street, don’t sing and whistle and keep away from walls.