The Ghost Festival is celebrated during the 7th month of the Chinese Lunar calendar. It also falls at the same time as a full moon, the new season, the fall harvest, the peak of Buddhist monastic asceticism, the rebirth of ancestors, and the assembly of the local community.
During this month, the gates of hell are opened up and ghosts are free to roam the earth where they seek food and entertainment. These ghosts are believed to be ancestors of those who have forgotten to pay tribute to them after they had died, or those who have suffered deaths and were never given a proper ritual for a sendoff. They have long thin necks because they have not been fed by their family, or it is a sign of punishment so they are unable to swallow.
Family members would offer prayers to their deceased relatives and would burn joss paper. Such paper items are only valid in the underworld, which is why they burn it as offering to the ghosts that have come from the gates of hell. Like in the material world, the afterlife is very similar in some aspects, and the paper effigies of material goods would provide comfort to those who have nothing in the afterlife. People would also burn other things such as paper houses, cars, servants and televisions to please the ghosts.
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