Chinese Ghost Festival


The Ghost Festival (also known as Zhongyuan Festival by Taoists or Yu Lan Pen Festival by Buddhists) is the day to pay respects to the deceased by offering sacrifices.

In Chinese culture, it is thought that all ghosts will come out from the hell on the fifteenth day of the seventh lunar month, so the day is called the Ghost Day and the seventh lunar month is the Ghost Month.

Can You Move House During Ghost Month?
→ Can You Get Married During Ghost Month?

Difference between Ghost Festival and Qingming Festival
In China, people also have the custom of offering sacrifices to the deceased on the Spring Festival, Qingming Festival, and Hanyi Festival (Hanyi Festival). But different from these festivals, the Ghost Festival is the day that all ghosts will come out to visit the livings. Also, people only offer sacrifices to their ancestors and relatives on the above festivals, while during the Ghost Festival, besides ancestors and relatives, people will offer sacrifices to all the ghosts or spirits. So, it's also called the Hungry Ghost Festival. The Hungry Ghost Festival is regarded as the most important one among all the festivals that offering sacrifices the deceased.

History and Legend about Hungry Ghost Festival
About the history and legends of the ghost festival, there are mainly three ones. The most popular one  is Mulian Rescues His Mother. Click to get to know What's the story behind the Hungry Ghost Festival?

Fast Facts about Ghost Festival:

Chinese Name: 中元节Zhōngyuán Jié
Alternative Names: Hungry Ghost Festival, Zhongyuan Festival, Yu Lan Pen Festival
Date: July.15th (Chinese Lunar Calendar)
Festival Type: Traditional Chinese Festival
Observed by: Buddhists, Taoists, Chinese folk religion believers
Traditions and Customs: Offering sacrifices to ancestors and all the deceased, Burning joss paper, Chanting of scriptures, Floating lotus flower-shaped lanterns

Date of Ghost Festival

The Ghost Festival falls on the 15th day of the 7th lunar month. In Gregorian calendar, it usually falls on August or September. The ghost month refers to the 7th lunar month. The following chart shows the exact date for the festival and the ghost month in 2023, 2024, 2025 and 2026:
Year Date of Ghost Festival Ghost Month
2023 August 30th August 16th - September 14th
2024 August 18th August 4th - September 2nd
2025 September 6th August 23rd - September 21st
2026 August 27th August 13th - September 10th


In China, people think on the Ghost month, the gate of hell will open to allow the ghosts and spirits go back to the living world. During the month, those have families will visit their families and those alone will roam on the street to seek food and entertainment.

Family members usually offer sacrifice to their deceased ancestors and relatives during the month and on the Ghost day. They are honored with delicious food three times a day on a table. The family’s ancestral tablets and photographs will be put on the table with incense burning near them. People also pay tribute to those unknown wandering ghosts with food and burn joss paper to please the ghosts on the 15th (some places on the 14th) day of the 7th lunar month to avoid the harm by them.

Buddhists and Taoists usually perform ceremonies on the day to help the ghosts ease the sufferings. They will set altars for them and chant scriptures. Monks often throw rice or some small foods into the air to distribute them to the ghosts.

On the evening of the Ghost day, people also make lanterns and float them on the river to help their relatives find their way back to home. The lanterns are usually lotus flower-shaped with light or candles. Some people also write their ancestors’ name on the lanterns.



As the ghosts and the suffering spirits will come out from the hell to visit their homes during the 7th lunar month (the ghost month), many things should be avoided during this month including the ghost day.

1. Don't stroll at night.
2. Don't swimming. It is said that the drowned evil ghost might try to drown you in order to find victims for them to rebirth.
3. As the month is considered to be inauspicious, don't move to new houses, start new businesses or marry.
4. Don't hang clothes outside at night.
5. Do not pick up coins or money found on the street and never bring it home.
6. Do not step on or kick the offerings by the roadside. If you step by accident, you should apologize aloud to make it alright.
7. Do not wear red because ghosts are attracted to red.
8. Don't sing and whistle as these may attract ghosts.
9. Keep away from the walls as it is believed that ghosts like sticking to walls.
10. If you are born during the ghost month, avoid celebrating your birthday at night. It's better to celebrate during the daytime.

→ More Taboos to Avoid during Hungry Ghost Month

More Traditional Chinese Festivals:

Chinese Spring Festival      Laba Festival      Lantern Festival      Dragon Heads-raising Day      Qingming Festival      Double Seventh Festival       Dragon Boat Festival         Mid-Autumn Festival      The Double Ninth Festival      Winter Solstice

Chinese Calendar

30廿五/25 1廿六/26 2廿七/27 3廿八/28 4廿九/29 5三十/30 六月 (Jun) 6初壹/1
7初二/2 8初三/3 9初四/4 10初五/5 11初六/6 12初七/7 13初八/8
14初九/9 15初十/10 16十壹/11 17十二/12 18十三/13 19十四/14 20十五/15
21十六/16 22十七/17 23十八/18 24十九/19 25二十/20 26廿壹/21 27廿二/22
28廿三/23 29廿四/24 30廿五/25 31廿六/26 1廿七/27 2廿八/28 3廿九/29

Lastest Questions and Answers

Auspicious date to resign in August 2024 (0 Reply ) Asked by S***l

Hi, my birthdate is September 1978. I already informed my superiors of my resignation, however, I need to indicate my last day of service which will fall in August 2024 on a Ghost Month. Kindly advise what are the possible dates of my last day from service? Thank you very much.

Resigning from a job during ghost month (2 Replies ) Asked by p***u

Hi, my birthday is on August 21, 1992. I plan to resign from my job. However, I need to render 30-day service. My last day will fall on Ghost Month. Can you let me know if there are dates that I can resign? Thank you very much.

Opening small business (1 Reply ) Asked by J***

Hi, What is the best date to open small grocery business during ghost month or August month to avoid unlucky day. I’m born in July15,1980, thank you

Which day is it okay to resign from work this month? (1 Reply ) Asked by D***n

I’m planning to resign from work this month but i’m scared of the ghost month. When is the auspicious date to resign? Also I’m planning to put up a business, when is the auspicious date this year to do that? My birthdate is on May 2, 1991. Thank you

Joining a company in ghost month (3 Replies ) Asked by A***e

Hi, I m born on 6 June 1980, female. I have got a job offer. I already tendered my resignation. My last day of service in current company is 23 Aug 2020. I m supposed to start work on 24 Aug 2020. When I signed the offer letter, I forget that ghost month coming. May I know can I change job during ghost month? Are my last day of service with current company and first day with new company auspicious? Thank you in advance.