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Feast of Hungry Ghosts

English: Feast of Hungry Ghosts, Portuguese: Festa dos Espíritos Esfomeados, Traditional: 盂蘭節, Simplified: 盂兰节

The Feast of Hungry Ghosts is a fascinating cultural event that takes place every 15th day of the seventh lunar month, which usually falls every July or August on the Western calendar.

It also coincides with Ghost Month, which reminds everyone to behave and avoid doing things that may upset the spirits.

Feast of Hungry Ghosts, Macau, 2024 Dates, Festival, Activities

According to Taoist folklore, the month-long observance is when troubled spirits walk around the streets to take advantage of the offerings given by people to their ancestors, especially those who may have unfinished business. These offerings usually include burned incense, food, ceremonial victuals, joss paper, and “hell money”. Some devotees also create handmade gifts such as origami-like paper meant to resemble materials gifts, ranging from clothes to electronics, for the spirits.

Some many other activities and rituals mark the Feast of Hungry Ghosts, created for both the dead and the living. One of the biggest highlights for visitors to Macau is witnessing the incredible Chinese opera around town this month; other exciting attractions include floating or hanging lanterns, which are put in place to guide the invisible spirits as they roam the streets. It’s also common to see small fires along the side of the road, as this is where locals burn their offerings to appease the spirits.

This festival was brought to Macau by the Chiu Chow community, who migrated to Hong Kong back in the early 20th century. These people place respect and brotherhood as a high priority, so for many people, the essence of the festival also lies in helping people whenever possible. They believe that honour and love must always be shown, even to those who have passed away, which can be done through worship and arranging feasts for the spirits. In the end, those who engage in the ritual are believed to be blessed.

The Feast of Hungry Ghosts is an interesting cultural event not to be missed if you visit Macau.

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