The Hungry Ghost Festival Is Upon Us And Here Are Some Things You Should Avoid Doing
If you’ve recently noticed an increase of small fires around void decks and food placed by the roadside, don’t be alarmed, that could be someone’s dinner.
Also known as the Hungry Ghost Festival, Tuesday (22 Aug) marked the first day of the seventh month in the Chinese lunar calendar. It is believed that the gates of Hell are opened during this period to allow spirits and souls of the underworld to roam amongst the living.
And whether or not you’re superstitious, we’re pretty sure that you’ve at least heard of taboos such as not staying out too late, or avoiding seats on the front rows of getai performances.
But there are actually more innocuous things to steer clear of.
Here are some lesser known things you should avoid doing during this period.
1. Keeping long hair covering your forehead
It is believed that humans have 3 points of light or “fire” on themselves emanating powerful yang energy with the strongest coming from their foreheads. The more the area is covered, the less powerful the yang energy, which increases the probability of running into spirits.
So pin that hair up as much as possible so that it can shine bright and ward off any unwanted entities wishing to approach you.
2. Turning your head when someone pats your shoulder or calls you
The remaining 2 points of light comes from your shoulders.
Turning your head over your shoulders will put out the torches of fire and make you more vulnerable by throwing your yin and yang energies off balance. If necessary, just turn your entire body if someone calls you from behind.
Otherwise, the spirit may just reveal itself to you.
On the other hand, if your mom is calling you from behind and you ignore her, then you’d be dead as well.
3. Wearing red or black clothing
If there’s two things ghosts are attracted to, it’s the colours red and black.
Wearing said colours might just cause you to attract the attention of hungry spirits, as ghostly visitors may think you’re the go-to person to get in touch with.
Also if you’re wearing black or dark colours on your nails, do consider adding brighter colours instead, as black nails are traditionally associated with the dead. And the spirits might just mistake you for one of them and lead you back to the underworld.
4. Leaving your clothes out to dry overnight
It’s recommended that you not hang damp clothes outside at night as ghosts may see it as an invitation to try them on. The spirits will also be brought into your house once you bring them in.
So refrain from airing your branded apparel outdoors because you aren’t the only ones with expensive taste. We heard that the Devil wears Prada.
5. Looking under the altar especially during prayer sessions
Other than the fact that it’s kinda weird to do so, it’s believed that the hungry ghosts are having their meals there.
After a whole year of being tortured in hell, we’re pretty sure that anyone would get somewhat annoyed over their circumstances. So don’t look under the altars because the spirits are especially irritable when eating. I mean, you wouldn’t like it if someone stared at you during your meals right?
It’s also pretty rude to interrupt prayer sessions plus I’m sure you don’t want your kids playing near lighted candles anyway.
6. Don’t try “new” things
Don’t worry, you can still try out that new cafe that just opened up recently.
What we’re referring to are new houses, new businesses, or even new relationships. As a general rule, nothing new whatsoever as they are considered to be highly inauspicious.
Unless it’s NEWater.
For example, moving into a new unoccupied space could result in encountering unwanted spirits who may have previously deemed the place as their own because first come first serve. Weddings that take place during the ghost month are also said to be doomed to fail due to curses from bad spirits.
You’re already getting married, do you really need that kind of extra pressure?
7. Standing under a tree or bus stop after operating hours at night
It is believed that spirits prefer the dark and colder conditions under the shade of a tree or a bus stop late at night, as the yin energy is stronger there.
So do try to avoid these places especially if you’re alone during the night unless you want them following you home.
Then again, there can’t really be a lot of reasons why you’d be standing under trees after midnight anyway.
8. Going hiking or trekking
Speaking of trees, where else can you think of that’s filled with nothing but trees?
The jungle, of course.
Other than what was covered on point 7, another belief is that one is more susceptible to being possessed and sustaining physical injuries during the seventh month. So avoid going for hikes or jungle treks during this period.
You can try using this as a reason next time your field camp falls during the hungry ghost month. Success depends on whether you’re more afraid of the spirits or your sergeant.
9. Leaving your door or windows open at night
It is believed that leaving your main door open during the night may invite negative energy or unwanted spirits into the premises. Do also try to keep your windows closed as well, because everyone knows that ghosts can fly.
Even though Singapore is absurdly humid, the risk is yours to take. Would you keep your house safe from any wandering ghosts at the cost of perspiring while sleeping?
10. Taking photographs at night
No selfies too.
If you’ve played Fatal Frame or watched the movie Shutter, you’d know exactly why taking pictures at night is a bad idea.
Traditional belief states that cameras have the ability to record and trap spirits. This comes from the days of film photography when pictures developed would sometimes include odd, ghostly figures in the background. Cameras have also been long associated with such topics as being the debate on the existence of such ghosts.
So unless you want them to be associated with you, leave the photo taking sessions for the day.
Could these just be superstitious beliefs?
As with the other taboos such as swimming at night or moths being a manifestation of departed spirits, these are ultimately up to your beliefs.
While some of the dos and don’ts may sound ridiculous and not make much sense, it is perhaps best to be safe than sorry during the seventh month.
You have been warned.
Featured image from Facebook