5 Things You Should Know About 'Ghost Month': The Do's and Don'ts

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A worshipper prays in front of statues of (L-R) "Cheng Huang Ye", "Jiu Ye" and "Niu Tou"
A worshipper prays in front of statues of (L-R) "Cheng Huang Ye", "Jiu Ye" and "Niu Tou" Reuters/Nicky Loh

Ghost Month falls on the seventh lunar month in the traditional Chinese calendar. According to tradition, during the first day of Ghost Month, the gates of hell open so throngs of evil spirits and ghosts enter the earth looking for victims. To avoid getting possessed and possibly even get good luck, there are a few things you need to do.

The Do's

1. Give offerings

On the first day of Ghost Month, honour your ancestors by offering incense, food and paper money. These will be useful to ghosts in the afterlife and they will thank you for the generosity. There are altars in homes and sidewalks set up throughout the month so you can burn incense and the paper money at these sites.

2. Pray

People with good feng shui might even experience an increase in their fortune in the month of August. Those who have strong faith in God will be more protected and help keep their loved ones safe throughout the month. Spend more time praying for protection and the souls of departed loved ones.

3. Postpone major activities

People who plan to get married should postpone the date until after Ghost Month. According to ABS-CBNNews.com, individuals who are supposed to undergo a major surgery should try to move the date until after August to stay safe. Those planning long trips or going mountain climbing should stay at home in the meantime to avoid accidents.

The Don'ts

4. Go out at night

Avoid evening strolls and stay inside the house at night because, according to a belief, ghosts and spirits tend to roam freely on the streets and other places at night. People should also avoid going to deserted areas like thick forests or empty houses. Spirits tend to settle in these quiet places.

5. Have new houses blessed

People who are moving into a new home or having newly built houses should not have these places blessed first before moving in. It might make ghosts think that they are welcome to settle in.

Taoists and Buddhists also have ceremonies to invite good luck and garner protection during Ghost Month. Warn your family and friends about the do's and don'ts during August to keep them safe. 

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