The Hungry Ghost Festival, Yu Lan, is an ancient Chinese festival, celebrated with Chinese opera performances and special ceremonies.
The Hungry Ghost Festival falls on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month. According to traditional Chinese belief, the seventh month in the lunar calendar is when restless spirits roam the earth. Many Chinese people make efforts to appease these transient ghosts, while ‘feeding’ their own ancestors — particularly on the 15th day, which is the ‘Yu Lan’ or Hungry Ghost Festival.
A series of festivities including Chinese opera performances will be held from around Hong Kong, and it’s a great opportunity to immerse yourself in cultural traditions.
The highlight of the festival, The Yu Lan Festival of the Hong Kong Chiu Chow Community, will take place in Victoria Park, with exhibitions and games symbolising the background and history of the festival.
While the festival’s origins are not unlike those of Halloween in Europe, it is also intrinsically linked to the Chinese practice of ancestor worship.
For tourists, it’s a perfect opportunity to see some of the city’s living culture in action, with many people tending to roadside fires, burning fake money and other offerings for ghosts and ancestors to use in the afterlife. Food is also left out to sate the appetite of the hungry ghosts.
For 2018 festival dates and more information, click here.