Offerings for hungry ghosts. Image Source: Hear in Taiwan.
The Chinese Hungry Ghost Festival is celebrated this year on 31 August and over the course of the following month. The Chinese calendar, a lunisolar calendar, calculates the festival to fall on the 14th or 15th night of the seventh lunar month, or Ghost Month. On the opening day of the festival, it is believed that the gates of heaven and hell open and the dead return to visit the living. Food offerings pay respects to the visitors and ease their sufferings. Laterns and small boats are floated on water to give the ghosts directions. Joss paper is used to provide dark money to the spirits, and to make effigies of worldly possessions. The paper is burned to make the transit to the realms of the dead and provide them with things they need in the afterlife. This tradition is part of Taoist and Buddhist observance, but has older roots in Chinese folk beliefs.
The Daily Undertaker: "Photographer, Kurt Tong created a series of images depicting the various paper items currently available to those who aim to provide for their dead. This series has been on display in galleries across the world, and is documented in the book In Case it Rains in Heaven." (Source of photos below.)
See my previous posts on Hungry Ghosts here and here.