The Chinese Ghost Month (鬼月) happens in the 7th month of the lunar calendar. During the festival, the gates of hell are open and all of the hungry ghosts travel to the world in search of food, money, and entertainment (招待).
A “hungry ghost” is a person that died and did bad things in their life or didn’t have a good funeral(葬禮). Once a year, they have a chance to play tricks or try to do something good so they don’t have to go back to hell.
Here are some things you can do to make sure you don’t cross paths(相遇) with a ghost during this month:
1. Don’t go swimming
People believe that evil spirits that died in the water may try to drown (把……淹死) the swimmer to get a chance to be born again.
2. Don’t go out alone at night
Don’t go out alone after dark because wandering (遊蕩的) ghosts can take control of children at night!
3. Don’t whistle(吹口哨), especially after dark
Whistling may attract(吸引) evil spirits and they may follow the person around for a long time, bringing bad luck.
4. Don’t sit in the front row of Ge-zai-xi shows (Taiwanese operas):
Front rows at the Gezaixi shows are always reserved (保留) specially for the ghosts!
5. Don’t pick up money on the street
Some people believe that if you pick up money on the street, you might bring home bad luck.
6. Don’t just turn your head around if someone pats you on the shoulder
Some believe that people have a flame(火焰) on each shoulder to keep you safe. If a ghost pats you on the back and you only turn your head, you’ll put out that flame. So, turn your whole body instead of just your head.
7. Do not kill rare insects in your house
Some believe that their ancestors(祖先) come to visit in the form of a rare (罕見)insect.
8. Don’t hang clothes outside to dry
Mischievous(調皮的) spirits will wear your clothes and try to sneak into your house!
9. Don’t lean (倚靠)against the wall
Ghosts like to stick on walls because they’re cooler, so don’t test your luck and lean (倚靠) against them during the month.
10. Don’t pee on a tree
Some believe spirits can live in trees, so don’t go to the bathroom near a tree during this month!
Some other important things to to avoid:
– Don’t open a new business
– Don’t move into a new house
– Don’t get married
– Don’t wear only black, white, or red clothes
– Don’t tell ghost stories
– Never touch anything that is put out on tables for the ghosts!