Lunar (Chinese) Ghost Month’s Don’ts

The seventh month in the Lunar Calendar is also known as the "Ghost Month".  This year, the first day of the ghost month is on August 13 and will last for 29 days till September 10.  For most Chinese, the ghost month represents an unlucky time to start any major life event.  Some things that are no-no include:

1. Weddings / Engagements

2. Launching of new businesses/Closing business deals

3. Starting house construction/renovations

4. Buying cars, properties, other major expenses, etc .

5. Undergoing major medical operations

Most chinese worldwide have their own customs and traditions in observance of the ghost month.  I found an excerpt from Lonely Planet that best describes what Filipino Chinese believe.  

"On the first day of the seventh lunar month, 'Open Day' in hell is held, the gates to the underworld are opened and the spirits are allowed to cross over into the living world.

Not only do the Taiwanese accept these hauntings with admirable equanimity, they actually give their ethereal guests the full VIP 5-star treatment. At the Chung Yuan Festival (about halfway through the month), huge banquet tables are set out in temple courtyards and mountains of fish, vegetables, meat and other delicacies are offered as sacrifice; hanging lanterns are erected to guide the ghosts to the table; non-stop operas entertain during dinner and fake money is burnt so that guests have a bit of pocket-money to spend when they return to hell.

This hospitality is not entirely altruistic – it's insurance against paranormal acts of retribution. Other do's and dont's to be observed during ghost month include the following: weddings, special plans, business deals and outings should be put on hold till the end of the month; no whistling, whistling is not a good idea, whistling will lead the ghost straight to your home; talking ill of the dead (even if it's true) will just bring tears and heartache; special care should be taken when walking along riverbanks where a water ghost can easily steal a living spirit; and adding to the numbers by burying the dead is, unfortunately, not a good idea. On the 30th day of the month, the gates of hell are closed again and the ghosts return to the other side."

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