Chinese Ghost Month
The entire seventh month of the lunar calendar is considered the Ghost month.
During this month the gates of hell are opened.
The ghosts are free to wander among the living.
The ghosts are in need of good food and good entertainment.
It is told that these ghosts are the ancestors of those families that have forgotten to pay tribute to them after they died.
Family members take care to burn joss money to the dead.
This money is only valid in hell.
They may also burn paper houses, furniture and so on, as it is believed that the afterlife is comparable to the world of the living.
On the 15th day of the Chinese Ghost month feasts are held for the hungry, roaming ghosts. Food offerings are made to please the hungry ghosts.
This is also done to prevent a lonely, miserable ghost invading one’s home and thus bringing bad luck.
At concerts the best seats are reserved for the ghosts. Music will be very loud as the ghosts appreciate high volume.
Fifteen days after the festival, the ghosts will hopefully find their way back to the underworld.
The Seventh day on the Seventh Month
The seventh day of this seventh month is quite different. It is the day for lovers, much like Valentine’s Day in the West.
Chinese Love Story
One story goes (there are several versions of the story) that the Jade Emperor had a beautiful daughter. The Jade Emperor is the highest of gods.
His daughter owned a magic robe which allowed her to travel to Earth.
Once while bathing in a stream, a cowherd stole her magic robe. Without the magic robe, she could not return to her father.
The cowherd took the princess back to his home. They fell in love and got married.
The Jade Emperor was furious. One day the princess found the magic robe her husband had hidden. She put on the robe and went to visit her father.
The Jade Emperor immediately asked all the rivers to flow across the sky (the Milky Way), making it impossible for the princess to return to her husband.
After a while the Jade Emperor did soften and decided to permit the young lovers meet on the bridge over the river on the seventh day of the seventh month every year.
This is a special day for lovers, celebrated in many countries in Asia.
From a concert during the Chinese Ghost month in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The red seats are reserved for the ghosts.