Ghost Festival

Let me start this post off by saying that this year is going to be a year of many new experiences and lots of new learning will take place {some learning  by the kids and tons by yours truly!}.

So Friday here in Taiwan was the 15th day of the 7th month of the lunar calendar (I realize everywhere else the date was August 28, 2015, but here in Taiwan it was July 15, 104....yeah I'm not completely sure I understand this yet!) The 7th month in many Asian cultures is ghost month and on the 15th day the doors to both Heaven and Hell are opened and the ghosts are allowed to roam free with the living. (Side note! I am by no means an expert with ANY of this, this is just what I have gathered by talking to people at school and in my community). Because the ghosts are running free, their culture believes that they must feed, make offerings to, and entertain the ghosts...enter the Ghost Festival.

On this day ALL the families, business, and stores make offerings to the wondering ghosts by placing these offerings (usually food items) outside of their homes and then putting a piece of incense into each food offering signaling to the ghosts that it is for them. Food that  I saw being offered included Doritos, Oreos, beer, Mountain Dew, tea, homemade rolls, dog food....literally whatever they have, they offer! Likewise, many of the families also set up small burn barrels where they burn fake paper money as a way of giving money to the wondering ghosts.

Needless to say, I did lots of walking around town and exploring Friday night and graciously talked to many of the locals who were eager to tell me about their traditions. I took some pictures, but because I tried to do it cautiously, some didn't turn out the best, but it was still so fun to see what everyone was doing!

This family had tons of offerings...including several packs of beer!

A small offering table before the incense was placed in it. 

Their ghosts must love ramen noodles and bread!
The offering table outside of the home I am living in...and our little stray dog friend that lives at my house!

A Chinese theater show that was being presented to the ghosts outside of one of the local temples. 

The full pig that was being offered to the ghosts outside of the temple. 

The temple where 100 or more people gathered to give their ghost offerings together at the foot of the temple steps.
If you want to read more about this Ghost Month, this link as well as this one.