Today, or rather, yesterday, considering that it's now past midnight, was the 15th day of the 7th month of the Lunar calendar. This day marks the Festival of the Hungry Ghosts.
It is believed by Taoists in China and other parts of Asia like Malaysia and Singapore that on the 1st day of the 7th month of the Lunar calendar, the spirits of the dead will be released from their cells in hell and allowed to roam the earth for a month. So those who have departed ancestors would offer prayers, food, hell money, paper cars, paper houses and clothes to their departed ones.
The believers would also put up live stage shows during this month to entertain the spirits. It is therefore quite common to see the players and singers performing to rows of empty seats. It takes a brave man or woman to sit at the front row, for he or she might be sitting on the lap of a ghost!
It is also common to see roadsides littered with prayer items such as food, hell money and incense.These are offered to appease the wandering spirits so that these spirits would not cause mischief to them or their family.
During this month, it is not unusual to hear the elderly folks caution their children against going out after dark, or driving past a cemetery. Superstition or logical deduction? It's your call.
Ghost Festival and World Cat Day