Mid-July through mid-August (which makes sense in the lunar calendar) is Ghost Month in Taiwan, which seems to have arisen from a combination of religion and superstition. It’s believed that the ghosts of their ancestors come back at this time of year, and so a lot of effort is put into both appeasing them and keeping them at bay. For the whole month there are lots of tables filled with food, incense, candles and flowers as offerings of respect for the dead. Sidewalks are crowded and even closed off when whole office buildings worship their ancestors at the same time. Our building had theirs yesterday, though I didn’t participate because I was in class all day. Last Monday, Keelung shut down at 4 pm, and most of the streets downtown were blocked off for a parade. The temple on the hill was strung with lights, and portable stages were set up in front of it for religious plays. People have come to this area from all over because apparently Keelung goes all out for the Ghost Festival, much more than any other city does.
There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.
- Robert Louis Stevenson