Appeasing restless ghosts in Hong Kong

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A woman burns joss sticks in front of a paper reproduction of the “Ghost King” at a makeshift altar during the “Hungry Ghost Festival” in Hong Kong. In traditional Chinese belief, the seventh month of the lunar year is reserved for the Hungry Ghost festival, or Yu Lan, a raucous celebration marked by feasts and music. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
A woman burns joss sticks in front of a paper reproduction of the “Ghost King” at a makeshift altar during the “Hungry Ghost Festival” in Hong Kong. In traditional Chinese belief, the seventh month of the lunar year is reserved for the Hungry Ghost festival, or Yu Lan, a raucous celebration marked by feasts and music. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Hong Kong (AP) – Family members burn paper money over open flames on sidewalks. Chinese operas are performed in makeshift theaters under tents set up in neighborhoods. All to appease spirits in what is known as the Hungry Ghost Festival.

It is traditional Chinese belief that in the seventh month of the lunar calendar, the ghosts and the living occupy the same space as spirits wander restlessly to visit their living ancestors.

A worshiper burns incense during the “Hungry Ghost Festival” in Hong Kong. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
A worshiper burns incense during the “Hungry Ghost Festival” in Hong Kong. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Associated Press photographer Kin Cheung documented this Hong Kong tradition, revealing the scenes at makeshift altars and tents as people pay tribute to the spirits of their ancestors with food, candles and music.

It is believed that the gates of the afterlife are open during the festival celebration, which began in mid-August and ran until mid-September.

A Chinese opera actor performs at a makeshift theater during the “Hungry Ghost Festival”. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
A Chinese opera actor performs at a makeshift theater during the “Hungry Ghost Festival”. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Chinese opera performers wait at a makeshift theater. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Chinese opera performers wait at a makeshift theater. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Taoists attend a service during the “Hungry Ghost Festival” in Hong Kong. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Taoists attend a service during the “Hungry Ghost Festival” in Hong Kong. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Taoists attend a service at a makeshift theater. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Taoists attend a service at a makeshift theater. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Residents watch a performance at a makeshift theater during the “Hungry Ghost Festival” in Hong Kong. Countless hungry and restless ghosts are roaming Hong Kong, and the world, to visit their living ancestors, at least according to Chinese convention. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Residents watch a performance at a makeshift theater during the “Hungry Ghost Festival” in Hong Kong. Countless hungry and restless ghosts are roaming Hong Kong, and the world, to visit their living ancestors, at least according to Chinese convention. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
A man hangs a lantern in front of a paper reproduction of the “Ghost King”. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
A man hangs a lantern in front of a paper reproduction of the “Ghost King”. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
A family burns paper money – locally known as “Hell Money” – during the “Hungry Ghost Festival” on a street in Hong Kong. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
A family burns paper money – locally known as “Hell Money” – during the “Hungry Ghost Festival” on a street in Hong Kong. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)