Hungry Ghost Festival in China 2024

Event Date:

August 18, 2024

Event Time:

9:00 am

Event Location:


Hungry Ghost Festival in China 2024

The festival is deeply tied to the ancestors and spiritual beliefs of the Chinese people, so any marketing initiatives should be carefully crafted. Try not to appear disrespectful or commercialize the event so blatantly.

For this occasion, brands can choose to create content highlighting family and heritage. You can add storytelling techniques to align your campaign with the festival’s essence and foster a deeper consumer relationship with the Chinese people.

Zhong Yuan Jie (中元节), also known as the Hungry Ghost Festival, traditionally falls on the 15th day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar. In Singapore, the festival is observed throughout the entire seventh lunar month, which is usually around the month of August of the Western calendar.1 During this period, many Chinese worship their ancestors and make offerings to wandering souls that roam the earth.2

The Hungry Ghost Festival: Honoring Ancestral Spirits and Embracing Tradition

In the tapestry of Chinese culture, the Hungry Ghost Festival stands as a poignant reminder of the importance of honoring ancestors and paying respects to departed loved ones. This ancient festival, also known as Yu Lan Jie in Mandarin and Zhong Yuan Jie in Cantonese, holds a special place in the hearts of millions across China and beyond, weaving together threads of spirituality, folklore, and communal solidarity.

Origins and Beliefs

The origins of the Hungry Ghost Festival can be traced back to Buddhist and Taoist traditions, dating back over 2,000 years. According to Chinese folklore, the seventh month of the lunar calendar is believed to be when the gates of the underworld open, allowing spirits to roam freely on Earth. Among these spirits are the “hungry ghosts” or the restless souls of the deceased who have not found peace in the afterlife due to improper funeral rites or a lack of descendants to honor them.

During the Hungry Ghost Festival, it is believed that these wandering spirits seek sustenance and solace from the living. To appease and honor them, elaborate rituals and offerings are made to provide comfort and ensure their well-being.

Customs and Traditions

The Hungry Ghost Festival is marked by a myriad of customs and rituals, each deeply steeped in symbolism and tradition. One of the most prominent practices is the offering of food and incense at makeshift altars and ancestral gravesites. Families prepare sumptuous feasts and elaborate displays of fruit, sweets, and other delicacies, believing that the spirits will partake in the offerings and find nourishment.

Throughout the month, elaborate performances, including Chinese opera, music, and dance, are staged in public spaces to entertain both the living and the spirits. These performances serve as a form of merit-making and are believed to bring blessings and good fortune to both the performers and the audience.

Another significant ritual is the release of “spirit money” or “joss paper” into rivers and streams. It is believed that burning these symbolic offerings will provide the spirits with wealth and resources in the afterlife, ensuring their comfort and prosperity.

Modern Observance

While the Hungry Ghost Festival has ancient roots, it continues to be observed with reverence and devotion by millions of people around the world. In contemporary China, the festival has evolved to incorporate modern elements, including live performances, community gatherings, and charitable activities aimed at helping the less fortunate.

In addition to its religious significance, the Hungry Ghost Festival serves as a time for families to come together and reflect on their ancestral heritage. It is a time to honor the memory of loved ones who have passed away and to express gratitude for their guidance and blessings.


The Hungry Ghost Festival is more than just a cultural tradition; it is a testament to the enduring bonds between the living and the deceased. As we pay homage to our ancestors and offer prayers for their peace and prosperity, let us also reflect on the values of filial piety, compassion, and gratitude that lie at the heart of this cherished festival. In embracing the customs and traditions of the Hungry Ghost Festival, we honor the past while embracing the present and looking towards the future with hope and reverence.

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  • China
  • China

Event Schedule Details

  • August 18, 2024 9:00 am   -   August 11, 2024 12:00 am
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