The Taoists and Buddhists think that the souls of the dead live on, and those imprisoned in hell were freed during the seventh month, the Fourteenth Day of the Seventh Moon

Hungry ghosts are the souls with no descendants, those who were neglected, abused in their lifetime.They have giant stomachs, and tiny mouths, that can never be filled, they are always hungry, wanting, dangerous. They are malevolent, causing droughts, floods, misfortunes, illness and death. The Hungry Ghost Festival is still held, to protect the living from these souls.

The spirits of the dead, come out at night, assuming different forms, appearing as snakes, moths, birds, foxes, wolves, tigers and demons. Or beautiful men and women, who seduce the living

They can enter the body, creating illness and insanity.

On the fourteenth day of the seventh moon, families worship their ancestors and provided their spirits with food and new clothes at the altar with incense, candles, paper offerings and food.

Then the family gatheres and enjoys a feast.

The next day the same offerings are performed again for the hungry ghosts wandering in the streets and alleys.

The ceremony is performed outside the front gate, to prevent the ghosts from entering the home.

The Ancestral spirits that were well fed and well cared for were benevolent and brought good fortune.

According to one legend, a wicked woman was punished and was sent to hell. Her son wanted to save his mother’s soul because he knew her soul was suffering.

He set out and ventured deep into the bowels of hell. Soon he came upon his mother and he saw that she was sitting a bed of very sharp pointy stakes and was holding on to a basin of blood.

He tried feeding her some food but the food would either turn into fire or blood. It was hopeless: he couldn’t do anything for her so he left. He returned home and started to pray.

It is said that Buddha heard his prayers and was touched by his compassion. Thus Buddha decreed that once a year, the gates of hell be opened so that the lost souls will be able to roam the earth and be fed.

Some say we are all Hungry Ghost, wandering the earth, never filled, always hungry.

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