The Ghost Festival, also known as Zhongyuan Jie in Taoism or the Ullabana in Buddhism, is a traditional Chinese festival celebrated on the 15th night of the seventh lunar month. In Chinese tradition, the seventh lunar month is known as “Ghost Month”, when the Gates of Hell are opened up and the ghosts are free to walk the earth; and as the ghosts on the 15th night are in high gear, the 15th day of this month is called “Ghost Day”. In 2013, the Ghost Festival falls on August 21.
For Chinese people, Ghost Festival is for assoiling and sacrificing the ghost of the Hell. At that day, the dead would return to visit their living relatives. Tradition states that Family members offer prayers to their deceased relatives, burn joss sticks, paper money and offer food. Almost as important as honoring the ancestors, offerings to ghosts without families must be made, so that they will not cause you any harm.
Another popular activity of the festival is to flow water lanterns on lakes or rivers. People use these floating water lanterns to direct the lost ghosts back to hell. For the “Ghost Month”, there is a river lantern festival held in Ziyuan Country. The locals float water lanterns down the river in remembrance of past relatives and perform songs hoping for a fruitful harvest.