What is Ghost Month - Hungry Ghost Festival: Taboos, Meanings, Superstitions and Beliefs
What is Ghost Month and What Happen in Ghost Month. Picture: Knowinsiders.com

The ancients also said that the 7th lunar month - the ghost month is the time of the devil's activity. From this concept, many people believe that the seventh lunar month is associated with bad luck. And, to avoid bad luck, the ancients handed down taboos to avoid committing at this time.

What is Ghost Month and Hungry Ghost Month

In China, according to folklore, from the 2nd day of the 7th lunar month, the King of Hell ordered the opening of the Demon Gate and on the full moon of the 7th month, he "released the door" to let the demons open. scattered to the four directions, returned to folk, until after 12 midnight on July 14, it ended and the demons had to return to hell.

Therefore, on this day, mortals often make offerings to the spirit so as not to be disturbed by the spirit.

People in China, Vietnam and East Asia believes that Hungry Ghost month can bring bad luck because of the curses of wandering lost souls. But on the other hand, it is also known as a time of forgiveness by the living for the most sinful deceased.

This belief mostly originates from Taoist and Buddhist thought. It is believed that the gate of hell opens in the 7th Lunar month and then ghosts from the Lower Realm roam freely on Earth among the living.

Ghost Month Celebration in China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan

In China, the worship of spirits is performed on the 14th day of the 7th lunar month, while in Vietnam, this time lasts a whole month, not necessarily the full moon day. The day of worshiping the soul may depend on each family and different regions.

Chinese believed the spirits of the ancestors would wander the living realm during the period, thus they can feed the dead to appease them. Chinese prepare food offerings and burn Joss papers etc to honor their ancestors.

In Vietnam, worshiping the soul is considered a traditional spiritual belief. Since ancient times, the Vietnamese have believed that a person has two parts: the soul and the body. Depending on the time of life and the things that person does leading to death, the soul will separate from the body and be reincarnated into another life or go to hell, even wandering around harassing ordinary people. And from there, the custom of worshiping the soul appeared.

In the seventh lunar month, many people believe that, on days like this, there are often many hungry and abandoned ghosts wandering everywhere, so each family will prepare rice, porridge, and salt to eat. bribe these spirits in the hope that they will not disturb the daily lives of their families, as well as help these spirits have a day of eating and drinking, and save their regrets.

These actions of Vietnamese people are cultural and spiritual in order to connect and show humanity between living people and the deceased, as well as the concept of pardon day: people have committed crimes even though they have committed crimes. Whatever, in the process of being punished, retribution, there is also a day of pardon, to relieve suffering and pain...

In the seventh lunar month, in addition to worshiping the soul, Vietnamese also have another very important holiday, which is Vu Lan festival, also known as Vu Lan's filial piety ceremony, this is a very big holiday. for followers of Buddhism.

Singaporeans and Malaysian please the ghosts with live performances. The activity will last the whole seventh month of the lunar calendar. The shows include Chinese operas, songs, dances, and so on. Show times are from 8:00 at night to 12.00 AM midnight. Don’t sit the seats in the first row; they are left empty for the ghosts.

Ghost Festival (Phi Ta Khon Festival ) is a festival held in Dan Sai, Loei province, Isan, Thailand. Thais observe the festival for 3 days between March and July. In 2022, the dates are Wednesday, June 22, 2022, to Thursday, June 23, 2022. The festival is one of the most colorful sensations in Thailand. Thais will dance on the streets in beautiful and colorful costumes. Their brightly painted masks will catch your eyes easily.

In Japan, the Ghost Festival is also known as oben Festival. It is a traditional Buddhist custom to remember the ancestors. The festival lasts for three days, from the 13th to the 15th day of the 7th month. Japanese observed the festival at different times in different regions depending on calendars. On the first day, people will hang lanterns in front of houses to guide the ghosts back home. On the last day, floating lanterns are put into rivers to guide the ghosts back to their world.

When Did the Concept of Ghost Month Exist?

Up to now, not many people know the starting point of this concept as well as the true meaning of the "ghost month".

In China, it is shown that in this country, there are many localities who also call the 7th month of the lunar calendar "Demon period", "Thi co". And, this is the time for everyone to pray and worship.

Chinese celebrated the festival since the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220). Taoists and Buddhists perform special ceremonies and traditions to honor the spirits of ancestors and to protect against ghosts’ attacks. People believe the dead ancestors can bless and protect them during the festival in this way.

The festival is believed to have been celebrated in Singapore since the country's time as a British colony. In the many public housing estates in Singapore, large bins are often set up for practitioners to burn their offerings, and the various Town Councils often remind residents not to burn these offerings elsewhere.

When Does the Hungry Ghost Festival Take Place?

The Hungry Ghost Festival falls on the 15th day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar.

The Ghost Month 2022 is from July 29 to August 26, 2022.

Hungry Ghost Festival 2022 is on August 12.

A lot of superstitions and taboos are said to strengthen within the ghost month. Firm believers and our ancestors think that the increase in bad luck is caused by the ghosts that have been freed from hell. Things like bad health and financial issues are said to have a higher probability when it comes to the hungry ghost festival and it is best to try and keep safe as much as possible.

What Should and Shouldn't You Do in Ghost Month - Taboos?

What is Ghost Month - Hungry Ghost Festival: Taboos, Meanings, Superstitions and Beliefs
Ghost Month Taboos

Many people also believe that "there is sacredness, there is abstinence, there is good", that's why in "the month of the ghost or the forgiveness of the dead", this devil month people often spread rumors about taboos in this month.

The taboos of the ghost month are deeply rooted in the subconscious of many East Asians. However, according to experts, those are just opinions, not scientific basis. Therefore, if you believe you should not be too superstitious and extreme to confuse yourself.

♦ Do not hang a wind chime at the bedside because the sound of the bell will alarm evil spirits. They will haunt your dreams, disturb you.

♦ Do not go out at night because in July the ghosts wander in the world, especially at night.

♦ Do not arbitrarily burn paper or votive paper because this will call for evil spirits to come and will bring bad luck and bad luck to your family.

♦ Don't eat the offerings because this is insulting to the demon's soul.

♦ Do not dry clothes at night because the devil can enter the spirit of the clothes that you dry. When you put it on, you accidentally bring "devil gas" into your body.

♦ Night out is not to call each other's name because the devil can remember the name of that person.

♦ Do not scare others because this can make them fly away, then the devil can enter the mind easily.

♦ Do not stand under the old tree because this is where the devil easily hides.

♦ Do not pick up money that falls on the road because it may be money offered to the devil. Holding these bills can bring bad luck.

In addition, many people also avoid doing big things such as: getting married, starting construction, shopping, going away... in the spirit of the month.

You Should Do:

Please apply some necessary things to protect yourself, worship and worship, if you can do it, first of all, you will be comfortable, then you can limit the devil - if you come to cause trouble, threaten.

- Perform a ceremony to pray for the opening of the underworld

• From the 1st day of the 7th lunar month, the Devil Gate will open and all spirits are allowed to return to the earth to visit their relatives. Therefore, in the afternoon, families must place a tray of offerings in front of their doors, called offerings to sentient beings, so that the spirits can have something to eat and not disturb their family members.

The sacrifices don't need too much, just a few items.

- Drop lights posted

Drop lanterns is to drop lotus-shaped lights floating in the river, the lights can be wooden or paper. However, the origin of the release of lanterns is to let the drowning people find their way home, to enjoy the sacrifices.

- Bring garlic, bring charms with you

Carry garlic with you to ward off evil. Some people also invite incantations, objects for peace or the Buddha's destiny, which also has the effect of killing and protecting the body.

Should walk softly, speak softly, do not kill, do not gather in large numbers, do not go early to late at night.

Cultivate a healthy body, relax the spirit, always be happy and excited, avoid falling into a negative and depressed state.

Taboo in the Hungry Ghost Festival

♦ Don’t stay out too late at night, especially for children, elders, and pregnant women. During the festival, ghosts are at their strongest at night because of the Yin (阴) energy. It is wise to return home before sunset.

♦ Don’t do any water activities. Water ghosts will look for victims active to reincarnate on the day. They will try to drown people in the water. Stay away from any water activities.

♦ Don’t touch the food offerings. The offerings by the roadside or fields are prepared for ghosts. Touching or stepping on the offerings would ‘offend’ the ghosts.

♦ Don't pick up money on the street. The money is to bribe the guards of hell. If you take the money, it may cause offense to them.

♦ Don’t wear red or black clothing. The two colors are especially enticing to ghosts and will attract unwanted attention.

♦ Don’t hang clothes outside at night. It is said the wandering ghosts will try on the clothes and be brought inside along with the clothes.

♦ Don’t open an umbrella indoors. Wandering ghosts seek shelters on the day. Opening an umbrella indoors means an invitation for them.

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