Chinese Ghost month is the seventh month on the Chinese Lunar Calendar and occurs from July 29 to August 26, 2022. Ghost Month is when the spirits of Chinese ancestors roam among the living. The Chinese believe they must respect and entertain their ancestors during their stay. If you do something that may attract or offend hungry ghosts, you may be cursed with misfortune and bad luck.
The Hungry Ghost festival this year falls on August 12, the 15th day of the seventh lunar month. This is the time when the celebration reaches its peak.
Now that you know what this spooky month is about, here are some do’s and don’ts to stay out of trouble:
- Arrange food offerings for your ancestors three times a day. Place bowls of rice, cups of wine, and chopsticks on your altar and leave some for the homeless spirits.
- Place your family’s ancestral photographs on your altar to please your ancestors. If you’re lucky, they will offer blessings in return.
- Burn red candles, incense, and Joss papers to bring joy to the ghost. You may burn these offerings at home, on bridges, or even in the fields.
- Float water lanterns on rivers to guide the spirits back to their realm. Once the ghosts follow the lanterns, their bad luck and ill fortune accompany them.
- Entertain the ghosts with live performances. Make sure to leave the first and second row of seats vacant for the ghosts to sit.
- Don’t stay out at night. During Ghost Month, the spirits are powerful at night, so it is best to go home before sunset.
- Avoid touching food and money offerings. Those offerings are meant for the ghosts, and you may offend them.
- Do not hang your clothes out at night. Many believe that wandering spirits may try on your clothes and be brought inside along with them.
- Avoid wearing red or black clothing. Red and black clothes attract hungry ghosts and their bad luck.
- Don’t use your umbrella indoors. Open umbrellas are seen as invitations for ghosts to go into your shelter.
After knowing what to do and what not to do, stay vigilant and avoid misfortune.