Just as the West has Halloween for ghosts and ghouls, so also does Chinese have a holiday to fete the departed spirits of the underworld-The Ghost Festival. Ghosts roam the world every year for a lunar month, it is said. In some areas of China, visitors can see small roadside fires, where believers burn paper money and other offerings to appease the restless spirits, who have temporarily been released from Hades.
The Ghost festival is also called Half July (Lunar). It is a popular occasion celebrated throughout China on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month. It will be 25th Augest this year.
Historically, families offer sacrifices of the newly harvested grain to departed ancestors on this day, which also coincides with the Buddhist Ullambana (Deliverance) Festival and the Taoist Ghost Festival. Since each of these traditions in some way honors the spirits of the departed, the seventh lunar month has come to be known as Ghost Month, celebrated as a time when the "Good Brethren" (ghosts from the underworld) come back to earth to feast on the victuals offered by the living. Over time the Ullambana Festival and Ghost Festival have melded together to become the present day Chung Yuan Putu or "Mid-origin Passage to Universal Salvation."
The Chinese believe that the dead become ghosts roaming between Heaven and earth. Spirits without descendants to care for them are prayed to during Ghost Festival so that they may also enjoy the warmth of life among the living. This custom, an extension of the traditional Chinese ethic of "universal love," has been woven together with the didactic legend "Moginlin Saving His Mother From Hades," giving Ghost Festival positive significance as a time for remembering the importance of filial piety. People now have taken releasing river light as a important activity at the time. It is said that the river light can conform and warm the homeless ghosts.