Traditionally, Chinese people believe that restless spirits knock about the world during the seventh month of the lunar calendar, when the doors of the hell are open. The highlight of the Ghost Month is the Hungry Ghost Festival, also named Zhongyuan Festival and Yu Lan Pen Festival. It falls on the 15th day of the month. That's when the parade begins: different shapes of decorated lanterns, including houses and boats, are placed upon decorated floats. Paper lanterns with last names on them are carried to the water, lit up, and then released. They are mainly meant to show the way to the lost souls, deities, and ghosts. The farther a lantern floats, the more good luck its family will have in the coming year.
The Hungry Ghost Festival is a perfect opportunity for tourists to see some of the town’s living culture in action: people burn roadside fires and put false money in the fire so that ancestors and ghosts can use them in the afterlife. Food is left out to feed hungry ghosts. During the Hungry Ghost Festival, everyone is invited to attend live performances, where the first row of seats is always for spirits to sit on. Chinese opera, dramas and burlesque shows are always performed loudly and at night to please and attract the deities.
Some of the most vivid celebrations of the Hungry Ghost Festival take place in Jiangxi Province and Hunan Province, as well as in Hong Kong.