Chinese Ghost Culture
There are many ghosts in Chinese culture; they have been worshipped by the
Chinese for a few thousand years. Even Confucius said, "Respect ghosts and gods,
but keep away from them."
While many people believe in ghosts, there are others who don't. The Chinese
people often say, "If you believe it, there will be, but if you don't, there
The ghost is a classical image in Chinese culture, i.e., the young woman
whose face is covered by long black hair, who dies due to misfortune, then comes
back for revenge.
The word "ghost" for many Chinese conjures up similar images. Often the ghost
is a beautiful young woman. The sudden switch from a beautiful girl to a
frightening ghost is striking. The seemingly fragile, helpless and beautiful
women turning into fearless killers is a favorite theme among Asian movie
directors and storywriters.
Chinese Ghost Festival
Just as the West features Halloween for ghosts and ghouls, the Chinese have a
holiday to honor the departed spirits of the underworld -- the Chinese Ghost
Festival. It is said that ghosts roam the world every year for one lunar month.
In some areas of China, visitors can see small roadside fires, where believers
burn paper money and other offerings to appease the restless spirits that have
temporarily been released from Hades.
The Chinese Ghost Festival is also called "Half July" (Lunar). It is a
popular occasion celebrated throughout China on the 15th day of the seventh
Historically, families offer sacrifices of the newly harvested grain to
departed ancestors on this day, which also coincides with the Buddhist Ullambana
(Deliverance) Festival and the Taoist Chinese Ghost Festival. Since each of
these traditions in some way honors the spirits of the departed, the seventh
lunar month has come to be known as "Ghost Month" and is a time when the "Good
Brethren" (ghosts from the underworld) come back to earth to feast on the
victuals offered by the living. Over time the Ullambana Festival and Ghost
Festival have melded together to become the present-day Chung Yuan Putu or
"Mid-origin Passage to Universal Salvation."