The seventh month of the lunar calendar is called “Ghost Month” in Taiwan.
In Taiwanese folk religion, the spirit world consists of three types of beings: gods, ancestors, and ghosts.
The gods are the highly respected and powerful spiritual beings.
Ancestors are family members who have already died. They require living relatives to offer ongoing resources in the spirit world.
Ghosts are the spirits of people who died but are not being sufficiently supplied by the offerings of their living relatives.
During Ghost Month, ghosts are released from the underworld to roam the earth for one month. They can harm people who don’t provide for their needs. So, food and drinks are offered to them at the beginning, the middle, and the end of this month to satisfy their hunger.
The largest of the food offerings happens during the middle of the month. Homes and businesses place tables with offerings out the front. Even fast food restaurants, tea shops, and grocery stores have tables set out to offer food and drink to the hungry ghosts.
People place burning incense sticks on the offering arrangements. Anything the incense ash falls upon is believed to become spiritual in nature for the ghosts to consume.
After the offerings are given, the people who give the offerings will either consume the food themselves or share it with others.