Sunday being the Hungry Ghost Festival, it’s a day to venerate ancestors. It is a day where the doors of the underworld are most open. While it is recommended to offer incense on all days of Ghost Month to appease ghosts and ancestors alike, it is of extra importance on the day of the festival where food and drinks are most likely to be offered also.
The offerings vegetarian in nature, it is easy to forget about one thing. That offerings do not need to be grand or expensive, it doesn’t have to be much nor complex to make. All it needs to be is simple and appropriate. But what is appropriate? Vegetarian meals and what ones ancestors would enjoy seems to be the best answer I can give.
How much should be offered can be of an issue. How does one know the amount of offerings to give? To put it as bluntly as possible, a stick of incense, a glass of a drink and a bowl or dish of food. Of course other kinds of incense and bottles and cans of drinks can be given, it comes down to availability. Offer what can be given, it being a small amount or not does not matter.
Should what’s offered be consumed? If the offerings are to ancestors or even ghosts, no. It is considered inauspicious to do so, even considered to be highly unlucky to eat offerings. Interestingly, it is considered lucky to eat the offerings of gods, buddhas and bodhisattvas. This is due to the belief that offerings to ancestors and ghosts gain a yin/negative energy, with offerings to gods, buddhas and bodhisattvas gaining a yang/positive energy.