Yu Lan Jie ( 盂蘭節) is a traditional Buddhist and Taoist festival held in countries where there are Chinese. In the Chinese lunar calendar the Ghost Festival is on the 15th night of the seventh month. The Cantonese being from Southern China celebrate on the 14th day.
The fifteenth day (or fourteenth) of the seventh month in the lunar calendar is called Ghost Day and the seventh month in general is regarded as the Ghost Month(鬼月), in which ghosts and spirits, including those of the deceased ancestors, come out from Hades. Unlike the Ching Ming festival whereby the descendants visit the graves of their ancestor, Yu Lan Jie is when the deceased are believed to visit the living.
During this month, Chinese of Taoist or Buddhist faiths hold ceremonies and rituals to relieve ghosts from suffering, many of them holding ceremonies in the afternoon or at night (as it is believed that the ghosts are released from hell when the sun sets). Altars are built for the deceased and priests and monks alike perform rituals for the benefit of ghosts. Monks and priests often throw rice or other small foods into the air in all directions to distribute them to the ghosts.
Already I have registered my parents' names for prayer ceremonies, one at the Memorial Park where their ashes are interned and the other at a temple in Greentown in Ipoh. Later today, I want to register their names for the Yu Lan ceremony at the Sitiawan Buddhist Association.