Buddhist Ghost Festival: Ullambana
The Ghost Festival has roots in the Buddhist festival, Ullambana and also some from the Taoist culture. The Buddhist origins of the festival can be traced back to a story from India. In the Ullambana Sutta, there is an account of a well-to-do merchant, Mahāmoggallāna, who gave up his trade to become a Buddhist monk. After he became an arahant, he wondered what became of his parents. He travelled the Buddhist universe, and found his father in heaven. However, his mother was reborn in the Realm of Hungry Ghosts. Despite her inheritance, his mother was not generous. She did not offer daana to Buddhist monks and did not show any kindness. When she died, she was reborn in the realm of hungry ghosts. Mahāmoggallāna eventually saves her from this plight by battling various demons and entreating the help of the Buddha. The story ends with this festival and the rescue of his mother from hell. She ended up being reborn as a dog in a well-off household. It marks the first day of the Ghost Festival.