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Published On: Mon, Aug 21st, 2017

Chinese ghost month – what you should avoid while the spirits roam among the living

nsnbc : According to Chinese mythology the ghost month is the seventh month of the lunar calendar. In 2017 ghost month lasts from August 22 to September 19. It is believed to be the month when spirits from the lower realm roam around the world of the living.

Image Flickr

Image Flickr

Most Chinese consider the 7th month of the lunar calendar or ghost month as an unlucky period. Believers and non believers who are subject to the cultural heritage and tradition alike, tend to avoid scheduling major events or making important decisions during ghost month. This includes business decisions, weddings, or even home repairs, because “bad things could be happening”.

Ghost month is the month when the gates of the netherworld are opened and cohorts of hungry ghosts come out to haunt the living. The “hungry ghosts” –  derived from Buddhist traditions – are believed to be in the netherworld because of their attachment and clinging.

Once they roam freely among the living, these hungry ghosts come to eat good food, drink rice whine and collect money. People are trying to appease the hungry ghosts by making offerings of food, drinks, and offerings of “ghost money” which is being burned. So far, nobody has returned from the dead to tell if the hungry ghosts care about counterfeit money being offered and burned.

There are scare aspects, of course, but ghost month is also a months when people care about their deceased loved ones. At least some of the hungry ghosts are believed to be deceased people who cannot move on because they are clinging to material things. They may be seemingly eternally hungry but they can never eat their fill, they are thirsty no matter how much they have to drink, and they are greedy no matter how much money and wealth they have accumulated.

There are things one is advised to avoid during ghost month:

  1. Don’t repair your house because the ghosts are apparently looking to mess up things that are being fixed or repaired.
  2. Don’t move into a new home unless you want it to be an unhappy home and maybe a haunted home.
  3. Don’t enter into new relationships and if you do, be extra careful to be sure it is not because you are just clinging to the material world.
  4. Avoid breaking up with your current significant other as it may lead to suicidal thoughts or attempts because of clinging.
  5. Couples should avoid getting married as your marriage may not last long.
  6. Don’t drive late at night to avoid accidents and sightings of ghosts as they may disturb you.
  7. Avoid getting into arguments as they may lead to more serious situations.
  8. Avoid looking at the mirror at night.
  9. Avoid visiting hospitals.
  10. Avoid wandering the streets at night; ghosts are looking for a spare body to possess or sometimes a soul to replace theirs so they can come back to the world of the living.
  11. Avoid whistling at night and making noise such as knocking at night.
  12. When someone taps on your shoulder once, do not look back as it may be a trick for spirits to possess you.
  13. Don’t turn your head when you hear someone call your name at night; instead, you should turn your whole body around.
  14. Stay away from water.
  15. Don’t walk alongside the wall.
  16. Don’t hang wet clothes outside at midnight.
  17. Don’t use a lot of black or red as it is said to attract hungry spirits.
  18. Stay calm when surprised, don’t be too emotional.
  19. Do not step on or kick the offerings left on the roadside.
  20. Don’t obsess over ghosts and ghouls and don’t go looking for them as they may find you instead.
  21. Don’t open an umbrella inside your house.
  22. Avoid buying puppets, sculptures or dolls.
  23. Don’t say the word “ghost”.
  24. Avoid standing under trees or bus stops at night.
  25. And most importantly don’t tell a Chinese or Taiwanese person that the Ghost Festival beliefs are superstitious.

F/AK – nsnbc 21.08.2017

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