Again, thanks to the remarkable Barbara O’Brien:
Hungry ghosts are pitiable creatures. They have huge, empty stomachs, but their mouths are too small and their necks too thin to take in food. Sometimes they breath fire; sometimes what food they do eat turns to ash in their mouths. They are doomed to live with incessant craving.
The Hungry Ghost Realm is one of the Six Realms of Samsara, into which beings are reborn. Understood as a psychological rather than a physical state, hungry ghosts might be thought of as people with addictions, compulsions and obsessions. Greed and jealousy lead to a life as a hungry ghost.
Hungry ghost festivals are held in many Buddhist countries to give the poor creatures some relief. …