SINGAPORE (RNS) — This time of year, the streets of Singapore come alive with celebrations of Hungry Ghost Month.

Buddhists and Taoists throughout Asia believe the gates of  hell open during the seventh month on the lunar calendar. The ghosts of the departed come back to visit the living, who have a special opportunity to pray for their departed ancestors, leave them food offerings and perform other rituals to alleviate their sufferings.

The 15th day of Hungry Ghost Month — Sept. 5 in 2017 — is marked by Yu Lan, or the Hungry Ghost Festival.

“In Singapore the Hungry Ghost Festival traditions represent

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