The 7th month of the Lunar calendar is also known as Hungry Ghost Month (鬼月), according to Chinese customs. This is the month where the gates of hell are opened to free the hungry ghosts who then wander to seek food on Earth. Of course like all Chinese customs (Wedding taboos, pregnancy taboos and many more), there are traditions and rules to follow.
With the Hungry Ghost Festival this year from 8 August 2021 to 6 September 2021, we have listed out 19 taboos not to do in order to stay safe in this Hungry Ghost month.
19 Things to Avoid During the Month of Hungry Ghost Festival
1. Do not stay out late in the night because spirit might follow you back.
2. Do not stab your chopsticks on your bowl of rice because it is rude in term of table manners and it also resembles the joss sticks offerings to the dead. It is indirectly cursing your own death and also telling the spirits that it is their bowl of rice.
3. Do not take photo at night because you might capture some other stuff that you don’t wish to see.
4. If your birthday fall in the ghost month, avoid celebrating your birthday at night and blowing your cake. It will be better to celebrate during the daytime.
5. Do not open umbrella, especially a red one in the house because wandering ghosts might seek “shelter” under the umbrella.
6. Avoid working late during this month because human are weak in the night, while the spirit are strong and might cause possession.
7. Do not cover your forehead, try to pin up your head as high as possible.
8. Do not play games that can attract spirits like ouija board or 碟仙
9. Do not wait at a bus stop after midnight, especially after bus service hour.
10. Do not use black or dark colour manicure because black nails may lead the spirits to think that you are one of them and may lead you back to hell as well.
11. Do not enter cemetery or any abandoned house because you might attract wandering spirit back with you.
12. Avoid spitting and blowing your nose in the public or at any tree/plant.
13. Don’t lean against the wall because spirit apparently like to stick on walls because they’re cooler, avoid leaning against them during the month.
14. Don’t turn your head around if someone pats you on the shoulder – It is believed that the living human have two protective flames, one on each shoulder. If a ghost pats you on the back and you only turn your head, you’ll snuff out that protective flame, thus making you vulnerable. To avoid this, turn the whole body at once instead of just the head.
15. Do not kill any insects that come into you house – It is a Chinese belief that insects especially are reincarnation of spirits or visit of your late closed ones.
16. Do not commerce your renovation works in the 7th lunar month as it might cause disturbance.
17. No buying of cars and property housing – It is believed to bring you bad luck if you make a purchase in this particular month, but it is fine to shop for them first and sign all legal agreements after the month.
18. Do not hang your clothes overnight as it easily attract spirit to possess them.
19. Do not hold your wedding dinner celebration in this month because it is believed to bring bad luck to the marriage and might even cause disharmony.
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