TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Keep up the good karma through the end of ghost month, September 19.
This year Ghost Month is from Aug. 22 to Sept. 19. It is believed that during this time the gates of hell are opened for hungry ghosts to wander the world of the living in search of food, money, entertainment, and possibly souls.
- Festival of Water Lanterns, Keelung, September 4
As part of Keelung's Mid-Summer Ghost Festival, today, September 4, is the Festival of Water Lanterns. The floating lanterns "light the way for lonely souls on water, attracting them to land and shore," says the Keeling City Cultural Affairs Bureau. Keelung's festival is the largest in Taiwan though lanterns will be released throughout.
- Hungry Ghost Festival, 5 September, YunLin County
The Hungry Ghost Festival is celebrated around Taiwan by offering feasts, incense, and prayers for the spirits of visiting ancestors. The largest offerings are in Keelung as well as the Huwei Great Worship Festival (虎尾中元祭) in Yunlin.
- Jump the Ghost Festival, Keelung, September, September 6
Keelung's Mid-Summer Ghost Festival will also feature a ceremony to shepherd loitering ghosts back to the underworld. Keelung's Festival is again the largest.
- Grappling the Ghost Festival, Toucheng, September 19-20
Once the ghosts have been successfully grappled, ghost month is officially over. Pillars of Chinese fir 11 meters tall with an additional 7 meters of bamboo attached on top are coated with oil. Food is attached to the pillars. Male contestants climb the pillars and throw down the food. Whoever reaches the top first to grab the wind banner is the winner of the competition.
- Sun Moon Lake Swimming Carnival, Nantou, September 24
Swimming, which is taboo during Ghost Month, is then celebrated the weekend after! One of the most famous swimming competitions, the Sun Moon Lake Swimming Carnival attracts thousands of swimmers over 10 years old to its 3000 meters long course.