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Barbara O'Brien

Watch Out for Hungry Ghosts

By August 15, 2008

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Hungry ghost festivals traditionally are held in China on the 15th day of the 7th lunar month, which I understand (correct me if I'm wrong) falls today, August 15, this year. Hungry ghosts are insatiably hungry creatures born into a miserable existence because of their greed.

According to Chinese folklore, the unhappy dead walk among the living throughout the month and must be placated with food, incense, fake paper money, and even cars and homes, also paper and burned as offerings. In China it is also considered risky to swim during the 7th lunar month, a superstition that didn't stop Chinese swimmer Xuejuan Luo from winning a gold medal in the women's 100 meter breaststroke at the Beijing Olympics.

Photo Credit: Ngo Thye Aun | Dreamstime.com

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