There is something similar between the Lunar New Year period and the Ghost Month in the level of spread-out activities around the area where I lived in Vietnam.
If Lunar New Year is an occasion that makes the area alive with crowds of people gathering in front of each house where lion dances are performed and firecrackers were lit during this time span, then there are also crowds of children gathering in front of each house during the Ghost Month where offerings to the forsaken spirits are made.
In front of houses and stores, the lion dances are performed to bring prosperity and good luck for the upcoming year while the loud noises of the firecrackers will scare away the evil spirits. Similarly, the offerings placed at the front of the houses and stores and later given away will help guard the household or commercial stores from hungry, wandering ghosts that can trouble or mess up with them or their businesses.
According to the Vietnamese belief, after a person died, their body decays but their soul still lingers in the afterlife. Those who died unjustly, without proper burials or without living relatives, their souls will roam the earth and they can haunt or harm the living.
Mum was a successful business woman before the fall of Saigon in 1975. She designed children’s wear, distributed materials for the workers to sew them then sell them in large quantities at Saigon’s main market – Bến Thành. These clothes would then be resold in other cities and rural areas in Vietnam.
Every year, in a random afternoon of the Ghost Month, joining other businesses around our house which was next to An Đông market, Mum also made offerings to the forsaken, lonely souls. The month is the seventh month of the lunar calendar and that usually is at the end of August.