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Hong Kong’s Ullambana Festival is Coming

Hong Kong is going to celebrate Ullambana (Hungry Ghost) Festival on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month (Aug 17th, 2016) with a month-long exhibition showcasing customs and traditions. This event made its debut in 1879 in Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay, established by Chaoshan people who emigrated from China’s mainland to Hong Kong.

Ullambana Festival expressed Chaoshan people’s nostalgia for their hometown and respect for their ancestors. During the entire seventh lunar month, downtown Hong Kong is swathed in a haze of burning incense, and throbs to a hubbub of voices, sutra chants, and Chaozhou Opera music played on traditional stringed and woodwind instruments. Now this festival becomes Hong Kong’s traditional event, and Ullamabana Festival was added to China’s national intangible cultural heritage since 2011.

According to traditional folklore, seventh lunar month, also known as ghost month, is the time the gates to the underworld open, allowing the departed to visit families and feast. Thus, Ullambana Festival is also called Hungry Ghost Festival. Hong Kong people do their best to content these transient ghosts, meanwhile worship their ancestors.