This Hungry Ghost Festival, my deceased ancestors are expected to return home for a 30-day visit. Empty seats for each of the deceased in the family are reserved during meals at my parents' house.
We have to prepare food offerings, burn incense and Hell money. Steps are taken to appease the spirits because if ignored, they would wreck havoc @.@
Rituals are performed in temples to transmute and absolve the sufferings of the deceased. My family was at several temples to pray for them.
For the whole month, we have to be home before dark to avoid any harmful spirits. No swimming is allowed lest the water ghosts would want us to be substitutes. *shiver*
We are not allowed to eat the delicacies used as offerings, unless otherwise served. They are meant for the spirits. Mysterious illness would strike those who pinch such offerings.
At the getais (open air mini concerts), never sit in the front row. These seats are strictly reserved for the VIPs aka Hungry Ghosts.
Avoid stepping on burnt offerings. You could be possessed. It is believed that the area where the burning takes place becomes an "opening" to the netherworld and stepping on would be disastrous.As spirits are believed to be dominant during this period, weddings and business launches are not held.
Urban legends or superstitious beliefs, this month-long event is a time for us children to respect our elders and observe our Chinese traditions.