2022 Chinese Ghost Festival, August 12, 2022
Chinese Ghost Month is from July 29, 2022 to August 26, 2022
Chinese Ghost Month and Festival
The Ghost Month is the seventh lunar month of Chinese Lunar Calendar. The 15th lunar day of the 7th lunar month is the Chinese Ghost Festival. The Chinese formal name of the Ghost Festival is Chung-Yuan 中元. The first lunar day of the 7th lunar month is on July 29, 2022. August 12, 2022, is the 15th lunar day, which is the Chinese Ghost Festival. The first lunar day of the 8th lunar month is on August 27, 2022. Therefore, the Ghost Month is from July 29 to August 26 in the China time zone.
Many Chinese families have both Buddhism and Taoism religions. The spirits jailed in Hell are called ghosts. The folklore says the ghosts have one-month parole and will travel to the towns in the 7th lunar month every year. People have better feasting on them. People are afraid that ghosts play trick-or-treat games. That is why the Chinese call the 7th lunar month the Ghost Month.
Buddha's Story and Ghost Festival
To feast the ghosts is from a story of Buddhism. Moggallana 目犍連 was one of Buddha Shakyamuni's best students. He had various supernormal powers and owned the divine eyes. One day, he saw his deceased mother had been born among hungry ghosts. He went down the Hell, filled a bowl with food to provide for his mother. Before reaching his mother's mouth, the food turned into burning coals that couldn't be eaten. Moggallana cried sorrowfully and asked for help from Buddha. Buddha said the sins of his mother were deep and firmly rooted, it couldn't be forgiven just using the divine power and it's required the combined power of thousand monks to get rid of her sins. Buddha told Moggallana that, " the 15th day of the 7th lunar month is the Pavarana Day for the assembled monks of all directions. You should prepare an offering of clean basins full of hundreds of flavors and the five fruits, and other offerings of incense, oil, lamp, candle... to the greatly virtuous assembled monks. Your present parents and parents of seven generations will escape from suffering." Following Buddha's instructions, Moggallana's mother obtained liberation from sufferings as a hungry ghost by receiving the power of merit and virtue from the awesome spiritual power of assembled monks on the 15th day of the 7th lunar month. Today, similar rituals are held in the Buddhism temples on this day for the deliverance of all suffering spirits.
Chinese Ghost Festival Altar and Offerings
The altar of Chung-Yuan has different scales and designs
People at home prepare lots of food to worship gods and pray for their spirits of ancestors, and then treat the homeless ghosts. Some cities will spend weeks building a multi-story sacrificial altar. The Taoists will fast and take a bath, wear formal dress and perform the religious ceremony to pray for good luck for spirits on Chung-Yuan Day. The lighting decoration of the altar at night is the entertainment for ghosts. Certainly, Chinese will bring children there for sightseeing and learn the traditional culture.
The altar of Chinese Ghost Festival at night
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By Master Allen Tsai on November 6, 2021