Friday is the Ghost Festival in Taiwan. And many people believe that the spirits who come on this day to visit the world of the living should be wined and dined.
Friday is the 15th night of the seventh month in the traditional lunisolar calendar — the day when people believe spirits can visit the world of the living.
Many folk, being generous hosts, prepare offerings for the spirits. Those usually involve food and drinks, but also items like signed baseballs to ask the phantom visitors for a good season.
There are also more topical offerings, like face masks or rapid COVID-19 tests, but infection rates among ghosts are still under investigation.
Another popular tradition is burning joss paper — the currency of the spirit world. But ghosts need to understand that here on Earth we have environmental concerns. That’s why in Changhua County’s Yuanlin Township authorities collect the paper to burn it safely. This year, they gathered 88 tons. All of it will be burned under the watchful eye of a priest.
Traditions differ from region to region, but Huwei in Yunlin County is said to have some of the grandest. Locals have set up close to 2,000 tables with offerings in seven different areas. But spirits might want some entertainment with their dinner, so light shows will take place at three spots in the neighborhood. Local businesses hope that the sights will attract not only hungry ghosts, but also hungry tourists.
Tomasz Koper, RTI News