Hungry Ghost Festival is a traditional Chinese holiday celebrated during the 7th lunar month. In Chinese tradition, the 15th day of the 7th month in the lunar calendar is called Ghost Day with the 7th month in general being regarded as the Ghost Month. It is during this time in which ghosts and spirits, including those of the deceased ancestors, come out from the lower realm to visit the living.
It is up to the living to appease these ghosts, and try to alleviate their suffering by preparing food offerings, burning incense and joss paper, as well as papier-mâché form of material items such as clothes, gold and other high end items for the visiting spirits. They will also set candle lit boats, and lanterns afloat on the water as a symbolic way of guiding the lost spirits.
Its actually all really interesting and fun.
Here is an article from The Star in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia - on how to avoid meeting ghosts during this time. I found it very amusing!
Just a reminder (as per the article) you should avoid:
*Don't cut your hair - split ends let them know you are suffering too
*Don't shave - ghosts like scruffy
*Don't hang clothes outside the house - the ghosts may steal them...
*Don't move house - the dead want to know where to find you, moving confuses them
*Don't buy a new car - save the new car for the dead ancestors!
*Stay away from the walls - ghosts stick to the walls, and they will attach to you if you brush by them
*Don't go on outings- you should stay home, but if you do stay home - for the love of fireworks, avoid the walls!
*Don't be female - it increases the risk apparently as ghosts and ladies are full of Ying (men are Yangs) and estrogen
Happy Ghost Month! I am gonna go a huntin!