中元節這天在道教中是中元地官寶誕,是地官大帝赦罪的日子,有祭祖的習俗,並祈求地官大帝赦免祖先亡魂之罪,並由個人的祖先擴大至一切亡魂。 後來民間就相傳那一天地府大門打開,陰間的鬼魂會被釋放出來,有子孫、後人祭祀的鬼魂回到家中神主牌去接受香火供養;無主孤魂就四處徘徊找食物。基於人飢己飢、人溺己溺、惠及眾鬼的思想,人們紛紛在七月,舉行設食祭祀、誦經作法等「普渡」、「施孤」布施活動,以普遍超渡孤魂野鬼,防止它們為禍人間,又或祈求鬼魂幫助去除疫病和保佑家宅平安。因此這一天會有普渡的習俗,稱為中元普渡。

《資料來源 : https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/中元節與盂蘭盆節》

The Origin of "Zhong Yuan" Festival

"Zhong Yuan" Festival is the birthday of "The Emperor of the Earthly Realm" in Taoism, and it is the day "The Emperor of Earthly Realm" will amnesty. People would offer sacrifices to their ancestors and pray for the forgiveness of their ancestors' sin from "The emperor of Earthly Realm". And this tradition has been extended from their ancestors to all spirits.

Then, the folks believe that at this day the gate of hell will be opened, and the spirits in hell will be released. Those who have descendants offer sacrificing will back to their home and accept the incense. The wild spirits will roam and seek for food. Base on the empathy, folks would offer sacrificing and chanting for the wild spirits to make them purified. It also hopes to prevent the wild spirits from harassing, pray the spirits for healing disease and protect the whole family's safety. Because of these traditions on this day, it is called "Zhong Yuan" Festival.