So no, it wasn’t the Chinese New year festival, it was the Ghost Festival. Although I am damned sure she said otherwise.
The Ghost Month is the seventh lunar month of Chinese Lunar Calendar. And the 15th lunar day is the day of the Chung-Yuan Ghost Festival. That’s today and maybe that is why I misunderstood.
Although I am damned sure I didn’t.
The festival has it’s origins from Chinese Buddhism. Moggallana was one of Buddha Shakyamuni’s best students. One day, he saw his deceased mother amongst hungry ghosts. So he descended to Hell taking a bowl of food for his mother. However turned to burning coals before it could be eaten and Moggallana pleaded with Buddha to help. But his mothers couldn’t be forgiven without the combined power of thousand monks. Buddha told Moggallana that, “the 15th day of the 7th lunar month is the Pavarana Day for the assembled monks of all directions. Prepare an offering of hundreds of flavors and the five fruits, and other offerings of incense, oil, lamp, candle… to the assembled monks. Your present parents and parents of seven generations will escape from sufferings.” Following Buddha’s instructions, Moggallana’s mother was released and similar rituals are held in the Buddhism temples on this day for the deliverance of suffering spirits.
Folklore says these spirits jailed in the Hell have one-month to travel to the towns in the 7th lunar month every year requiring people to prepare and offer food for them.