The Hungry Ghost Festival is a month-long Chinese traditional festival that takes place during the seventh month of the lunar calendar. This year more than 100 celebrations are held in Hong Kong alone.
Hungry ghosts also appear in Chinese ancestor worship, "the realm of hungry ghosts". Some Chinese believe that the ghosts of their ancestors return to their houses at a certain time of the year, hungry and ready to eat. Festivals are held to honor the hungry ancestor ghosts and food and drink is put out to satisfy their needs.
The celebration of this Yue Lan festival and its requisites are described in the epilogue of the novel "The Hungry Ghosts" by Anne Berry.
When Buddhism entered China, it encountered stiff opposition from the Confucian adherents to ancestor worship. Under these pressures, ancestor worship was combined with the Hindu/Buddhist concept of the hungry ghost. Eventually, the Hungry Ghost Festival became an important part of Chinese Buddhist life.
According to transcribed oral tradition, some Chinese villagers believe that spirits may be granted permission to return to the world of the living, and to take what they can from there, if these spirits had not been given sufficient offerings by their living relatives.