Hungry Ghost Festival or Zhong Yuan Jie celebrated on the 7th Lunar month which fall on 25th July 2006 this year. On this day it is believed that the "Gates of Hell" are opened and that the dead return to visit their living relatives. The Chinese feel that they have to satisfy the imprisoned and hungry ghosts in order to get good fortune and luck in their lives.
Historically, families have offered sacrifices of newly harvested grain to departed ancestors on Hungry Ghost Festival or Zhong Yuan Jie , which also coincides with the Buddhist Ullambana, Deliverance, Festival and the Taoist Ghost Festival, called "Zhong Yuan" in Taoist terminology. 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 Zhong Yuan Putu or "Mid-origin Passage to Universal Salvation."
Hungry Ghost Festival or Zhong Yuan Jie is currently celebrated with ceremonies at homes, temples, associations, and guilds. Prayers are offered to the dead and offerings of food such as chicken, vegetables, fruits, bean curd and white rice are placed at street corners and roadsides to appease the spirits. This is believed to prevent the wandering spirits from entering their homes and causing disturbances in their households.
Offerings are also made at Hungry Ghost Festival or Zhong Yuan Jie by burning replica money notes, which are also known as ‘hell money’. Some families also burn paper houses, cars and even paper television or radio sets to give to their dead relatives. The Chinese feel that these offerings reach the ghosts and help them live comfortably in their world