Hungry like a Hungry Ghost! - Hong Kong A La Carte

24 August 2018

On the 15th night of the 7th lunar month – Saturday August 25 2018 – the Hungry Ghosts Festival is taking place. This Chinese celebration is very popular in Hong Kong and in China but also in Singapore and other Chinese communities across Asia.

The legend says that during that month, lonely spirits of dead ancestors come back to roam the living world. In order to stay safe and to appease these wandering and famished ghosts, devotees celebrate by offering them food such as suckling pigs (without forgetting to put a fruit in their mouths so that they do not complain about their fate to the guardians of hell) or by burning incense and presents made out of paper. All sorts of offerings are available from luxury items (fashion high-street labels of course!), dogs, computers, sport cars and real-estate (subdivided apartments are particularly popular this year as “cheaper” and easier to burn!) to match the ghosts’ preferences. If in any doubt, paper currency issued by the bank of hell, is always a good choice to please the spirits.

 

Numerous popular street performances are also organised to entertain the ghosts; and the highest attention is made by keeping the first row open for these VIP guests (do not ever think that these seats are available, you might regret sitting there…).

 

Here are a few pieces of advice to go through the month without any mishap: do not go out after 11pm (night time is dedicated to ghost wandering) and do not answer if someone bothers you. Cover wounds with plasters (blood attracts ghosts), do not swim in the sea in case you are pulled by a swimming ghost and finally do not plan important events such as weddings or the opening of a new company as their fortune maybe jeopardised!

Keep an eye open this Saturday and enjoy this ancestral Chinese celebration. If you would like to learn more about local traditions and superstitions, get in touch at [email protected]