Halloween in China and The ‘Hungry Ghost Festival'
Halloween is increasingly popular in China even though it really can’t compare with the popularity of Christmas. But it’s fresh and creative, which is a good excuse for the younger generation to have fun together. It isn’t as popular among younger children but more so with teenagers and young adults. Brands are increasingly involving Halloween themes in their campaigns as they see the increased popularity among this generation. Here are some references:
Moreover, we have what’s called the ‘Hungry Ghost Festival’ in China to worship ancestors. The tone surrounding this festival is serious which is quite different than that of Halloween. It’s celebrated on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month. This day falls in July or August in the Western calendar. Traditional Chinese people believe the gates of hell are thrown open on this day, releasing hungry ghosts to wander the earth in search of food and to take revenge on those who had wronged them. Traditionally, people will burn paper houses, cars and televisions to please the ghosts. Families also pay tribute to ‘unknown’ wandering ghosts so that these homeless souls don’t intrude on their lives and bring misfortune. People who live near rivers will float river lanterns on small boats in the evening, making colorful lanterns out of wood and paper that have ancestors’ names written on them. This is in an effort to lead the ghosts away down the river, follow the floating lanterns.
Sara Li is a Planner at Mullen Lowe Group China, Shanghai