Amazing Hungry Ghost Festival Of Eastern Asia

Prianka Chanda

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Amazing Hungry Ghost festival of Eastern Asia

The Hungry Ghost Festival will be observed on Friday, August 12 of 2022.

Like all other festivals of the world, the Hungry Ghost festival is a traditional carnival of ancient China. For almost thousands of years, this carnival is celebrated in many locations in the Eastern part of Asia. Here in this mesmerizing traditional writing, we will be discussing the special occasion of the Hungry ghost festival.

How Does the Hungry Ghost Festival Compare to the Hemis Festival in Eastern Asia?

The Hungry Ghost Festival and the Hemis Festival Ladakh annual carnival are both vibrant cultural celebrations in Eastern Asia. While the former is a traditional Chinese festival honoring deceased ancestors, the latter is a two-day event in the Ladakh region of India, celebrating the victory of good over evil. Both festivals are rich in history and tradition.

What Are the Similarities and Differences Between the Hungry Ghost Festival and Bisu Mela?

The Hungry Ghost Festival and Bisu Mela ethnic carnival are both important cultural celebrations in Asia. While the former focuses on honoring deceased ancestors and appeasing wandering spirits, the latter is a joyful event filled with traditional music, dance, and food. The key difference lies in their spiritual significance.

The meaning of the Hungry Ghost festival

In Chinese culture, lots of special festivals are there. It’s a traditional practice of dead people and their Ghost’s arrival. According to the folk religious beliefs of ancient China, dead people come to the Earth as Ghosts. To make sure the Ghosts are satisfied and remember the dead people. It’s an honorary festival for all the ghosts and dead people.

People celebrate this festival depending on the lunar calendar system of the Chinese calendar year. This time of the year the dead ancestors appeared on Earth. Apparently, the occasion is celebrated on the 15th night of the seventh month on the Chinese calendar.

Amazing Hungry Ghost festival of Eastern Asia

Relationship between Buddhists and Chinese Hungry ghost festival

You can name it Daoism or Taoism. It’s a Philosophical traditional practice in the Chinese region. This religious faith is very similar to Buddhism. Based on the principle of the substance of existence of everything. Daoism provides more strict rules than Confucianism. Which is a popular religious practice in many Chinese regions. 

Basically, the principle of Existing of everything is the pioneer of the Hungry ghost festival. Centuries of polishing customary practice are the modern form of this festival. Where it’s believed that after death existence is possible. 

On the other hand, Buddhism’s main principle is the dual phase of life. Very supportive of the comeback of dead people. Both Taoism and Buddhism believe in the matter of returning the deaths on Earth. This leads to the conclusion of the Hungry ghosts festival.

History and development of Hungry ghosts festival 

The roots of Chinese traditional religion started way back in the 4th-century BCE.  Tao Te ching is believed to be the most sacred text of Chinese Taoism. In which some proof is found of the return of the people after death. Cycling is the way of returning to Earth. No one knows the actual birth date of this Holy festive night.

Other than the holy texts, some prove also found in the art and culture of many old times. The modern history of ghosts festivals is also very controversial. The first begging was considered during the 16th century.

Another belief is that the ghost festival was derived from ancient India. The Mahayana scripture also has some acknowledgment of this fest. Some beliefs also say that it may be derived from the ancient Mongolian culture. So, it’s clear many cultural influences reshaped the modern fest of Hungry ghosts carnival. 

Celebration of Hungry ghosts festival 

People believe that during this time of the month, all hell’s gates are open. The bad spirit comes from the dead person to the Earth. Ghosts and bad spirits are the mistreated dead person. People who didn’t get good treatment and desired respect from the living person, come back as ghosts or evil spirits. 

If the family member has forgotten to pay proper tribute to the dead person, he arrives as a ghost and could harm the living person’s life. As to satisfy the ghosts, family members offer lighting, money, and food. 

People also pay huge tributes to the homeless souls. Meditation is a customary practice of this ancient tribute offering function. People decorate the table with colorful candles and flowers. Along with the decorated table, special items of food also get served. 

During the daytime of the festival, people organize various cultural and traditional programs. In modern times the cultural programs get more emphasis rather than the ritual customary practice. Surfacing the fourteen days of the main function people float water lanterns to make sure the hungry ghosts return to hell. 

All Buddhists and traditional Taoist followers take part in this holy occasion. During the last stage of the function, Taoist monks chant as a traditional custom. By the made sound ghosts get away from the world.

Similarities of Hungry Ghosts festival with Halloween festival     

In western countries, the Halloween festival is celebrated to honor the dead. Halloween is the night of the dead or many people compare it to ghost day. Wearing mysterious dresses is a very common scenario. Which is very similar to the Chinese Hungry Ghosts celebration. 

Where the Chinese believe that ghosts or dead ancestors can help them. And also a tributary fest of full moon night of the Chinese lunar calendar. So, these two protecting ceremonies of ancestors are very similar in many ways.  

Amazing Hungry Ghost festival of Eastern Asia

Celebration of Chinese Hungry festival in other locations of the world

Spectaculars scenarios were displayed during this fest. Alongside China, many countries of Eastern Asia take part in this traditional and religious practice. Outside China, 15 days of an annual festival are held in Cambodia. In Cambodia, this function is mostly known as Pchum Ben. 


In Srilanka Buddhists and Hindus, communities organize this function. Praying for the sick people and satisfying the hungry ghosts gets more priority here. It’s believed the people who didn’t get the desired respect can make your life hell. So, satisfy the ghosts rather than making them angry.  


Sat Sin is the Thai name of this holy festival. Thai Buddhist people celebrate this 15 days long occasion with great aspiration and enthusiasm. All the Buddhist Temples get crowded during this time of the year. People decorate their houses with colorful lighting and many more.


This country has many Taoist followers. Government holidays are declared to observe this fest with friends and families. Many cultural programs are also arranged here in Laos. Food offerings and street lighting can be seen. The night scene is more spectacular than the day scenario.

In Indonesia, many regions of the country celebrate this cultural fest. Particularly Indigenous Hindus of the Bali region annually organize this carnival. In some regions of India, people celebrate this occasion with great expectations. From a very ancient period, this celebration takes place here in India.   

Nowadays you can call this fest a universal festival also. All the festivals should be like that, where there will be signs of brotherhood, happiness, and participation of different believers. Traditional carnivals arrive with a lot of learning and lessons for us. Don’t forget to express your word in the comment section. Hope you have enjoyed this writing so far.

More cultural and religious festivals:

Mewar Festival – The Rajasthani way of welcoming spring

Vaisakhi – The celebration of harvesting crops

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