Yu Lan Ghost Festival of the Hong Kong Chiu Chow community
There are difference legends about the origin of the Yu Lan Hungry Ghost Festival from the Buddhism and Taoism traditions. Taoist called it the “Ghost Festival”. According to legend, the “gates of hell” opens every July for the unclaimed souls to return to accept offerings. Buddhist tradition tells the tale of Mu Lin saving his mother. From generations to generations, people organize Yu Lan Ghost Festival to pray for redemption and good karma for their ancestors and the lonely souls.
Hong Kong Chiu Chow Yu Lan ghost festical began in 1897. The traditional ceremony has been officiated by the community for generations. Yu Lan Ghost Festival starts from the first day of the seventh lunar month and continues until the end of that month. There are more than a million people originating from Chiu Chow in Hong Kong who actively carry on their traditions, with more than 60 active Yu Lan clubs. Having been held for more than 100 years, the festival is to offer sacrifices to ancestors and the wandering ghosts in the netherworld. The main activities include burning incense and joss papers, performing live Chinese operas and dramas for the ghosts, distributing auspicious rice and auctioning auspicious objects.