The Hungry Ghost Festival takes place during the 7th month of the lunar year in Hong Kong as well as other parts of Asia. It took place on Aug. 25 this year and will happen on Aug. 15, 2019.
The festival begins on the first of the month when it's believed the Gates of Hell open, and ghosts return to the earth to mingle with the living. Throughout the month, people burn paper money and food on the streets as an offering to their ancestors and to soothe the angst of restless spirits. Incense is burned, and candles are often left out at night to help guide the ghosts and ghouls back to wherever they call home.
On the 15th day of the month, after the ghosts have been wandering for two full weeks, the Yu Lan celebration kicks off. On this festival day, to appease the hungry spirits, people burn paper versions of dim sum and roasted turkey along with paper iPhones, Lamborghinis, luxury bags, and gold watches.
In addition to feasting and receiving gifts, throughout the festival month, communities host pop-up operas to entertain both spirits and earthlings. It's customary for the first row of the theatre to remain empty on opening night for the ghosts, of course.