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Wordtravels

Hungry Ghost Festival (Yue Lan)

It is believed that the gates of the underworld open for a month, once a year, and the discontented and vengeful ghosts of those who died without proper funeral rites, who met a violent death, or whose living relatives neglected their after-life spirits, roam the earth looking to satisfy their hunger for attention and peace. The purpose of the festival is to prevent these ghosts from inflicting harm on the living in order to gratify their needs, and so elaborate religious parades with food offerings fill the streets, and roadside fires are built to burn gifts of money and crafted paper objects such as cars or furniture to appease the wandering ghosts. Various types of entertainment also take place to keep them happy. The festival's origins are similar to Halloween but the Chinese culture of ancestor worship makes it a far more personal festival in some ways; families often leave out food for their lost loved ones. One of the main highlights of the festival is the Chinese opera; operas in honour of the dead and showcasing their great deeds in life are performed all over the city. For more information contact the Hong Kong Tourist Office Association on +852 2807 6543 or info@www.hkta.org

Venue: Various. Popular venues are King George V Memorial Park, Kowloon and Moreton Terrace Playground, Causeway Bay

Date: 9 August 2014