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Taiwan: Ghost Festival Haunts Island, Especially Port City of Keelung

Taiwan spooks festival
The Ghost Festival is celebrated during the month of August in Taiwan. Photo Credit: Tourism Bureau ROC (Taiwan).

Festivals and Holidays

According to Taiwanese tradition, the Gates of Hell open at dawn on the first day of August only to close four weeks later on 29 August. The Ghost Festival combines Buddhist and the Taoist tradition in honouring the dead.

During the Ghost Festival, Taiwanese families make offerings to both their own ancestors and other ghosts. They also avoid doing anything risky. August is not considered an auspicious month in which to start a business or go nightclubbing.

If the Ghost Festival is celebrated throughout Taiwan, its focal point is the port city of Keelung in Northern Taiwan, where a bloody feud between immigrants from the cities of Zhangzhou and Quanzhou in Fujian province across the Taiwan Straits broke out some 150 years ago.

The Ghost Festival is also known as the Hungry Ghost Festival. It also celebrated in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam. Customs and dates vary from place to place.

 

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