August festivals: China’s Hungry Ghost Festival

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By Karen Hart

Investigate a spooky Chinese festival and make your own ‘hell money’.

During ‘Ghost Month’ Chinese people may not wish to leave their homes after dark! Ghost Month is a time when the Chinese believe the doors to the ghost world are thrown open and ghosts roam the land settling old scores, and scaring people.

Halfway through the month, Chinese people throw a big party to please the spirits, when lanterns are hung, buried and floated on the water to guide the ghosts to special banquets and opera performances – there are, of course, empty chairs laid out for the phantoms to sit on. Graveyards and streets are filled with paper models of worldly goods and special, festival bank notes are printed specially for the ghosts which are known as ‘hell money’, and which are burnt in big bonfires as night falls


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