Hungry Ghost Festival Myths

There are a lot of myths during the 7th moon or more commonly referred to as the Hungry Ghost Festival (or Ghost Festival). 

The most popular myths are the following and the truths about them with respect to the philosophies and scriptures of Buddhism and Taoism.

Myth 1: The gates of Hell are opened during every 7th lunar month. Which means souls leave Hell and freely go to the living world.

THE TRUTH: Not all beings will be reborn in hell. Those who have earned strong negative karmas when they were alive will be the ones who will be reborn in hell. Although, when these souls have cleansed and lessen their bad karma they will again have the chance to be born in the living world. Therefore, all souls have the chance to leave hell and not only when it's the 7th month but when they have payed enough for their bad karma.

Myth 2: During the 7th month, hungry ghosts from hell roam the world freely as wandering spirits. 

Hungry Ghost Festival

An ancient scroll of the Hungry Ghost Festival

 If the west celebrates Halloween, the Chinese also has an eastern version and it is the Hungry Ghost Festival (or simply Ghost Festival). In the lunar calendar the festival falls on the 7th moon and is commonly called as the ghost month. There is a debate on where the festival had originated. For Buddhists and Taoists in China, they claim that the festival is from the scriptures of Buddhism as to which Buddha tells that the gates of hell are opened. Others claim that it is mostly from Chinese folklore, traditions and other folk religions.  

During the Hungry Ghost Festival, the Chinese family gathers all together and serves a lot of food and other offerings for the hungry ghosts so that the ghosts would not bring the family bad luck. There are a lot of superstitions during the ghost month since it is believed that ghosts (and they’re hungry) are freely wandering the living world. One superstition is that when it is already late at night and you’re walking alone, then somebody calls your name from behind, you should not look back because it is believed that the one calling you is a ghost. 

A ghost coming back for those who have owed him when he was still alive

 Other superstitions during the Hungry Ghost Festival:


Pan Hu the wonderful dog and China's Sinocentrism

Sinocentrism is an ethnocentric political ideology that regards China to be central or unique relative to other countries or nations.In short, it means that the Chinese race is supreme to all other non-Chinese. There is an ancient Chinese myth/legend that provides the sinocentrism of the Chinese- the tale of the wonderful dog named Pan Hu. Pan Hu's tale made the Chinese regard the uneducated Chinese, Man people(Miao, Mao,Ming, Mang) and the Non-Chinese people (Thai, Burmese, Tibetans) as dog people. Which means they are high-breed half human dogs and because they're half-breed human they are naturally lower than the Chinese people who are "pure humans". 

The tale of Pan Hu the wonderful dog in capsule form: A dog named Pan Hu marries the princess as the king had promised, after he has brought the head of the king of the neighboring kingdom. Pan Hu and the Princess had 12 sons and daughters which were regarded as the Non-Chinese people or those of the people who live in Southern China.

The Tale of Pan Hu, the wonderful dog

Thousands of years ago,


Taoism One of the 3 major religion/philosophies in China along with Confucianism and Buddhism. Taoism (Tao is equal to way) literally means “the way of nature/virtue”. It is based on the teachings and philosophies of the Chinese Philosopher Lao Tzu (Tao tse ting/ way of virtue). He is also the father of Taoism and is referred to as “the old scholar”. In Taoism, true happiness can be attained by the union of humility, patience and self-control. Taoism is generally the teaching of human ethics based on religion. The first Taoist book was written by Lao Tzu and is considered the first poetic book. Likewise, Chuang Tzu (or sometimes referred to as Chuang Chou) wrote the second greatest Taoist book. Taoism talks about the essence of life. Taoism in the late Han times is often referred to as the Yellow Turban. The Yellow Turban means Taoism promises immortality to ordinary men.


The Taoists or people who believe and are followers of Taoism, maintained the shaman ways in the early years from the birth of Taoism during the Chou Dynasty
The Taoists do certain activities such as yoga like those of gymnastics. They also have dietary rules in which they should avoid eating cereals. Wang Chang a first century Chinese philosopher described the Taoist as people who eat the finest fruits as a means of spiritual transcendence. The “Hsien” (in spiritual transcendence) is similar to angels which means they are delicate super beings or divine beings whose skin and flesh resembles snow.

“What is my place in nature?” – “You are part of it, and you must understand it”.
                                                                                                            - Taoism Philosophy


The symbol of Confucianism

A quick look on some of the philosophies in Confucianism.
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