China Elevator Stories

Chinese Ghost Festival

The ghosts of ancestors are believed to visit their relatives on this day.


Ruth Silbermayr-Song


Ghost Festival (鬼节) falls on the 15th day of the 7th month of the lunar calendar. It is said that on this day, the doors between the human and the spirit world are wide open. Chinese folklore, Taoism, Buddhism, and even Confucianism have notions of ghosts.

This year, Ghost Festival was on August, 10th, in the Gregorian calendar. According to Chinese tradition, it’s best to stay at home after nightfall on the day of the Ghost Festival. The reasoning is that the ghosts of your ancestors and beloved ones might want to visit you on that day.

Going out after nightfall isn’t the only thing that is forbidden on the day of Ghost Festival. It is said that on the 15th day of the 7th lunar month, many ghosts will be roaming the streets and you probably don’t want to give them a chance to take possession of your body. 

If you want to make sure that the ghosts can go back to the spirit world without causing any harm, there are some other rules you have to adhere to, according to the Chinese:
– You can’t pick up money you find on the street
– You shouldn’t call out a person’s name after nightfall (if you are still outside after nightfall)
– You cannot call someone at midnight, or you might be talking to a ghost
– You cannot look in the mirror at midnight, or you might see a ghost in the mirror talking back to you

There are many more rules of what you cannot do on this day, some of these rules vary from region to region.

Have you ever heard of Chinese Ghost Festival?