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Will You Be Celebrating The Hungry Ghost Festival this Year?

Updated: Aug 11, 2023


Will You Be Celebrating The Hungry Ghost Festival this Year?

Every year, many Asian cultures mark their calendars for a unique and spiritual event, takes place traditionally on the 15th night of the 7th month which is sometimes called Chinese Ghost Month. This year, it will commence on Wednesday 30 August 2023. This festival is more than just a tradition. It is an amalgamation of cultural beliefs, spiritual observances, and societal norms. But just like any other cultural event, there are certain things to avoid during this period to ensure respect and harmony. The Hungry Ghost Festival, also known as Zhongyuan Jie in Chinese, is a traditional Buddhist and Taoist festival. It is believed that during this month, the gates of the afterlife open, releasing spirits, including those deemed as 'hungry ghosts,' into our realm. These spirits are ancestors and the neglected dead who didn't receive proper funerary rites. To appease these restless spirits, families prepare ritualistic food offerings, burn joss paper (a form of paper craft resembling money and valuable goods), and organise live performances. But the living should also tread carefully during this time, mindful of the spectral guests amongst us. Here are things you might want to avoid during the Hungry Ghost Festival: Avoid Swimming

It is believed that some spirits might cause harm by pulling swimmers underwater. Steer Clear of Late-Night Activities

The spirits are thought to be more active at night. Avoid wandering about late to prevent unwanted encounters. Refrain from Moving House or Starting a New Business

The festival is not an auspicious time to start new ventures or make significant changes. Do Not Whistle or Ring a Bell at Night

Sounds are said to attract the attention of wandering spirits. Respect the Offerings

If you come across food and joss paper on the street, do not disturb them. They are offerings to the spirits. Don't Sit in the Front Row at Getai Shows

The front row is typically reserved for the spirits to enjoy the live performances. Avoid Wearing Black or Red

These colours are said to attract spirits. This guide serves as a basic rundown of some observances during the Hungry Ghost Festival. It is always important to understand and respect cultural traditions, whether we personally partake in them or not. It ensures that we maintain a sense of community and continue the rich cultural diversity that makes our society unique.

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