The Chinese celebrate two festivals of the dead: The first takes place in the spring and is called Ching Ming - a day for reflection and rememberance of the recent and still-remembered but ancestrally departed. The second - and darker of the two festivals - is called Da Jui by the Chinese and Urabon or Obon by the Japanese.
The Seeker's Glossary of Buddhism
By Sutra Translation Committee of USA/Canada
This is a revised and expanded edition of The Seeker's Glossary of Buddhism. The text is a compendium of excerpts and quotations from some 350 works by monks, nuns, professors, scholars and other laypersons from nine different countries, in their own words or in translation. The editors have merely organized the material, adding a few connecting thoughts of their own for ease in reading.
They burn giant-sized joss sticks and paper money. They slaughter animals. They stage street operas. They say this is Buddhism. How misleading they are! Putting aside all the malpractices, the Ullambana celebration has its origin in Buddhism. Ullambana Sutra is a discourse given by the Buddha principally to the Venerable Mogallana on the practice of filial piety.
Ullambana is a transliteration of the Sanskrit word meaning "deliverance from suffering," and specifically refers to the salvation of anguished souls in Hell. This concept originates from the story of "Mulien Saving His Mother from Hades."