According to Hong Kong's Chinese population, peaceful ghosts are happy ghosts. Peaceful ghosts are also?
According to Hong Kong's Chinese population, peaceful ghosts are happy ghosts. Peaceful ghosts are also well-prepared ghosts. To make sure their departed relatives are happy, thousands of people in Hong Kong this month are offering the necessities of life during the annual Ghost Festival.
In the different suburbs, local authorities have erected colourful and ornate temples where the pungent fumes of joss sticks and the clashing of cymbals fill the air.
For their dead relatives -- the ghosts -- are offerings of paper houses, clothes, cars, television sets and money. The Chinese believe that people who led good lives will eventually return to earth as someone else. And when they come back, they should be well-equipped.
Some of those celebrating the festival were too poor to afford anything to offer -- so volunteer organisations provided them with free rice supplies.
At night, the paper goods and money are set on fire and sent heavenwards to join the departed relatives, paper providing more fuel for the flames than material goods.
But if the relatives led a bad life, then all the offerings are a waste of time. Because, according to Chinese beliefs, they will return to earth as anything from a dog to a snake.