Ghost month is the 7th lunar month in the Chinese calendar. It is thought to be the first day of the month, when the Gates of Hell open to allow spirits and ghosts to wander to the world of the living.
These spirits spend the whole month visiting their families, feasting, and at the same time looking for victims.
There are three important days during the Ghost month:
- The first day of the month, which Chinese tradition dedicates to honoring ancestors with offerings of food, incense, and ghost money.
- The 15th day of the month, which is when the Ghost Festival is celebrated. A sumptuous feast is offered to the spirits so that in return, they may bring good luck to the families.
- The last day of the month is when the Gates of Hell are closed again. The Taoist priests chant to inform the ghosts that it is time for them to go back to the underworld.
There is a huge population of the Chinese people all over the world and their influence is felt everywhere. Here in the Philippines, Filipinos avoid many things during the Ghost month.
While some would dismiss these as superstitions, there is nothing wrong if we follow some of these traditions if they would give us some peace of mind.
Myth #1 Never make huge decisions.
It is a tradition among the Chinese to avoid making major decisions like starting a business, getting married, or even having any medical operation during the Ghost month. Weddings that take place during this month are said to be destined to fail. Any form of construction or renovation are put on hold as well as it may bring bad luck. To counteract bad luck, Taoist and Buddhist priests perform a ceremony by throwing rice or small food into the air in all directions to distribute them to the ghosts.
Myth#2 Avoid moving into a new house.
Families who plan to move into their new home must let the Ghost month pass or they may bring in misfortunes to the family.
Myth#3 Children and the elderly should not go out late at night.
These people are said to be weak or vulnerable, therefore they must prevent themselves from being attacked by the evil spirits.
Myth#4 Stay away from water.
It is believed that when a person dies, his ghost or wandering spirit wants to be reborn. In order to expedite the process, the ghost may try to drown human beings. Therefore, traveling by sea is avoided as well.
Myth #5 Avoid getting upset at night.
People are also advised to always have positive thoughts, especially at night. Being too emotional supposedly makes you more vulnerable to being possessed by a ghost.
Myth#6 No whistling while walking at night.
It is said that whistling may attract ghosts. Remember that the hungry ghosts are seeking food and entertainment.
Myth#7 Don’t hang your damp clothes at night.
Hanging out damp clothes at night outside is said to attract ghosts to try them on. The ghosts may remain in the clothes when they dry up and as you put them inside your home.
Myth#8 No open umbrellas inside the house.
It is believed that doing so is like asking the ghost to come and shelter underneath.
Myth #9 Don’t even mention them at night.
Mentioning “ghosts” at night can attract their attention.
Myth#10 Women should not wear high heels.
It is said that having one’s feet elevated from the ground leaves them open to being possessed by spirits through the energy point below the ankles.
Myth#11 No selfies.
It is said that ghosts can get trapped in cameras.
Myth#12 A dark house or office strengthens the ghost.
Homes and offices should be well lighted to keep ghosts from entering. Make sure to replace all broken lights.
How To Ward off These Spirits
There are amulets or charms that you can use to ward off bad luck and attract good fortune during the Ghost Month. You can use these charms and stones for display in your homes to ward off any negative energy.
Offer candles and incense to your deceased loved ones so they can protect you from being harmed by the hungry ghosts.
Wearing red and carrying a pinch of salt in your bag when you leave the house supposedly repels ghosts.
It’s really all up to you whether you will follow these customs during the Ghost month. But the most important thing is to always keep safe and to always think twice before making a decision.
Armando Bartolome’s writings appear on GoodNewsPilipinas.com every Thursday.
(Armando Bartolome is known as the Philippines’ Franchise Guru, a mentor to numerous micro entrepreneurs who are now themselves big names in the industry. This article is reposted with the author’s permission and was previously published on The Business Mentor column posted by ABSCBN News. For questions and more information, you may contact Armando “Butz” Bartolome by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @philfranguru. His website is https://www.gmbmsglobal.com/ )