The “Ghost Month”(鬼月), the seventh month in the Chinese lunar calendar, has been gaining popularity in Pinoy pop culture these past few years. In 2017, it is from August 22 to September 19. The Hungry Ghost Festival is the most important festival of Hungry Ghost month, which is on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month (in 2017, it September 5). At this time, the gate of hell is opened so the spirit and soul of the other world is free to roam on ours.
In year 2010, The chinese hungry ghost month will begin on the 10th of August and end on the 7th of September.
During Ghost Month, especially on Hungry Ghost Festival, there are 10 things that people should never do.
01) One should not pee on a tree because it may offend the spirits that resides there.
02) It was said that young people should not wander around too late into the night during the ghost festival for fear that spirits would follow the individual home.
03) It is bad luck to kick or disturb offering to the hungry ghost such as joss stick, candle and food offerings. All these item are mean for appeasing the spirits and ghost.
During the Ghost month, people burn make-believe paper money outside their homes or businesses, along the sides of roads, or in fields. Sometimes, they go to temples for this task. On a trip to China during this time, you’ll probably see people occupied with this activity or find the ghost money on the ground with ashes and remains. They want to give the ghosts the money they need during their special month.
People light incense and may make sacrifices of food to worship the hungry unhappy ghosts. People trust that the ghosts won’t do something terrible to them or curse them after eating their sacrifices and while holding their money. They put up red painted paper lanterns everywhere including business and residential areas.
There are street ceremonies, market ceremonies, and temple ceremonies. During street and market ceremonies, people gather at the streets and markets to celebrate the festival. At temple ceremonies, monks in temples organize festive activities. Many believe it is important to appease the ghosts to avoid spiritual attack.
04) It is also inauspicious for couple to get married during the hungry ghost month.
05) During the month, Chinese Operas would be staged to perform and entertain the spirits and soul during the hungry ghost festival. Usually the front row of seats are reserve for the spirits so it is not advisable to sit on it especially during the first day of the festival. It is said that one may get possess if the individuals luck is low.
06) It would be best to avoid swimming during this month as victims death by drowning may cause the individual to drown. Some has experience their leg been drag/pull into the water.
07) During this month it is not auspicious to visit a sick person in the hospital, attend an funeral, moving house and starting a new business.
08) Avoid talking about ghost during this month as it may offend wandering spirits.
09) Wearing black clothing are consider inauspicious during this time of the year too. So is red if I’m not wrong.
10) It is advisable not to have the main door of a premise open all night long. This apparently will invite negative energy into the house.
11) Leaving an umbrella open outside the house in the night is also considered a no-no as spirits may take shelter under them.
12) Opening an umbrella INSIDE the house after it was used in the night is also not advisable. It is said that one may bring/carry in spirits to the house.
13) One should also avoid going into a jungle during this time. Tree with long leaves are consider very yin and it’s not advisable to take shelter there.
14) One must also not kill any rare insect (moth, grasshopper, butterfly, etc) that visits the house during this time. They apparently are manifestation of spirits or ancestors paying a visit.
15) To begin/start renovation to your premise during this time is inauspicious. This is said to be disturbing any spirit/soul residing there.
16) I was told that moving/placing a fish tank into a house this month is also considered inauspicious. Water is considered a Yin element.
17) Celebrating birthdays in the middle of the night during the seventh Chinese ghost month is inauspicious.
18) Taking out wet clothes for drying in the night. Apparently, Spirits would try them on and will bring misfortune to whoever that wears it after.
19) High heel shoes are also not advisable during this time. I was told that spirits/soul could easily possess the victim when their heel are high up. But do not worry as the person would need to be in a very bad luck to be effected.
20) It is inauspicious to have the chopstick stab onto the rice while eating. Do this would signify that the food is an offering to the good brothers/spirits.
21) The chinese believe that each person contain an unseen trinity fire which is located on the forehead and shoulders. These are to protect them from been possess and bad luck. It would be advisable not to pat anybody shoulder or forehead at this time.
22) During this ghost month it is advisable not too look back or respond when somebody calls your name from your back.
23) Do not place your sandals facing the headboard of your bed to avoid unwanted spirit sleeping along.
24) Avoid taking photographs in the evening. Having a photo taken with the spirits is inauspicious and may led to trouble.
25) One should avoid playing with spiritual games like the Ouija Board, Spirit Pen, etc.