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    Taiwanese Hungry Ghost Festival Concludes


    by NTDTelevision

    Taiwanese marked the end of "ghost month" with a unique race. They had to climb to the top of a tower in a ritual to appease the hungry ghosts. There is a snag however, all the poles are coated in oil and grease.

    Taiwanese gathered on Tuesday to mark the end of the traditional Chinese "ghost month" which falls on the seventh month on the lunar calendar.

    Food offered to appease straying ghosts is placed on top of a 130-foot-high tower that's supported by 12 greased-up poles.

    Sixteen teams race to climb the slippery poles seeking to be the first to reach the victory flag at the top.

    To qualify they had to reach the 20 foot mark in seven minutes.

    But some of the teams found this new rule unrealistic.

    "I will not be forced to leave the tower. The competition rules do not meet our expectations, because we believe seven minutes are not enough (to pass the six meter mark), as all the teams will be struggling up and down, and the whole process usually lasts more than one hour, and probably no team will make it to the top."

    But organizers were reluctant to give in.

    "Once the competitors agree to the rules, they have to obey to them. They cannot arrive at the scene and force the judges to change the rules. That should not happen."

    Well, it did take about an hour before the first climber made the top and grabbed the flag.

    The victorious team took home a prize of about $1,000.

    The tradition stems back about two centuries. Rich Taiwanese families let their poorer fellow countrymen compete for what is left of offerings to ancestors.

    Ghost month is the time when the spirits of the deceased are believed to wander the earth again.