The Ghost Festival ( also known as The Yulan Assembly or Zhongyuan Jie) is a traditional Chinese festival and holiday, which is celebrated by Chinese in many countries. In the Chinese calendar (a lunisolar calendar), the Ghost Festival is on the 14th night of the seventh lunar month.
The Chinese fear the dead and the dragons of the air. They devote the first three weeks in April to visiting the graves of their ancestors, and laying baskets of offerings on them. The great dragon, Feng-Shin, flies scattering blessings upon the houses. His path is straight, unless he meets with some building. Then he turns aside, and the owner of the too lofty edifice misses the blessing.
In the Chinese tradition, the seventh month in the Chinese calendar is called the Ghost Month, in which ghosts and spirits come out from the lower world to visit earth. The Ghost Festival is the climax of a series of the Ghost Month celebrations. Activities at the festival include preparing ritualistic offering food, and burning hell money to please the visiting ghosts and spirits, as well as deities and ancestors.
Other activities include, burying and releasing miniature paper boats and lanterns on water, which signifies "giving directions to the lost ghosts." A very solemn festival, the festival nevertheless represents a connection between the living and the dead, earth and heaven, as well as body and soul.
On the evening before the Ghost Festival, there is a lovely custom celebrated in areas in Taiwan and Hong Kong, of sending beautifully decorated paper boat and water lanterns. On the 15th day, a large community celebration takes place in which Buddhist and Taoist priest chant liturgies, perform rituals on an outdoor altar, and offer incense, paper clothes, and spirit money to the ghosts.