How To Be Lucky This Month of August
In Chinese tradition, August is considered the “Ghost Month” or the month wherein they celebrate the “Hungry Ghost Festival”. The practice normally falls on the 15th day of the 7th Lunar month. This year, 2018, it starts from August 11 to September 9 and the Festival will be on the 25th of August, 2018.
FOR BETTER UNDERSTANDING
The custom is normally observed by the Buddhist, Taoists and the Chinese folk religion believers. They believe that this is the time when the spirits who are trapped in between realms are released to roam the earth. The “Hungry Ghost” are the spirits that have committed serious sins when they are alive. There are some who suffered violent and sudden death or have unfinished business here on earth. The spirits are released and freely roam when the gates of hell open and they start to search for food, entertainment, and mischief. With these spirits roaming the earth, increase possibilities of crime, accidents, untimely death and paranormal events or ghost sightings are expected.
Offerings are for the deceased ancestors and relatives. This is our way to remember them and thank them for the life they shared with us. An offering is normally done 3x a day with delicious food on the table and incense and candles near the photos of the deceased loved ones to make the spirits calm and remove bad luck and misfortune they cause. For the wandering spirits, Joss paper is burned to please the ghosts and avoid the harm they bring. On the last day of the month, floating of lotus paper in streams and bodies of water is done to send off spirits back to the underworld. All these offerings are done to keep the “Hungry Ghost” happy and not bother you and your home or office and to also avoid misfortunes they bring with them.
According to our interview with Ms. Lin Ci Qian, a committee of Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation Philippine; she said, they consider this month as an auspicious month, this is a month for prayer and meditation because of the good weather and during Buddha’s time, monks would pray and meditate longer.
You need to prepare for this month. Clean up your house or office; make sure it is spotless and organized. Change flickering light bulbs, make sure all nooks and cranny are well lit and clean. Remember, wandering ghosts are attracted to dark and gloomy places. Use bright and happy colors in your home and office to ward off the spirits.
You should also prepare yourself for this month. Deflect negative energy and stay positive because the more you are grumpy, angry, irritated or weak, the more you will make spirits play with you and your emotions.
A LOOK BACK ON OLD BELIEFS
There are a lot of things to avoid during this month to stay lucky and protected. I understand, we are in a new age and we find it hard to follow all these traditions and rituals. We have collected a few of the of the things our ancestors avoid during this time of the year to attract luck.
- It is best not to talk about spirits and ghosts especially when night falls.
- It will be better to not go to places filled with negative energy such as cemeteries, funerals, hospitals.
- Important decisions and major life events are postponed during this time because it is believed not to bring good ending.
- Surgery and medical procedures are rescheduled as much as possible. But during emergency cases, more prayers and family support are needed to strengthen and increase the positive energy.
- For everyone’s safety, strolling late at night is avoided because it is believed by the elders that the spirits are more powerful during this time.
- According to the elders, whistling at night or answering when someone calls you in the dark or tap you when you know no one is near you is not advisable. Roaming spirits might be the one calling you and they might follow you and bring bad luck.
- Happy noise is good; however, celebrations are done in the morning and not at night to not attract spirits.
- Coins or money on the street is not picked up or played with, because these might be intended for the spirits and they might think you are stealing from them.
- House transfer or move-in to a new home or office during this month is rescheduled to another time to avoid untoward incidents.
- Renovations and repairs should start before “The Ghost Month”; the spirits are attracted to noise and the repairs might invite wandering spirits.
- For those who love taking selfies and photos, take extra precaution when taking one at night or in places that are dark, it is believed that these are the instances wherein you might capture unsolicited companions with you.
- Umbrellas should be dried outside your home or office and not indoors. An open umbrella is whispered to give shelter for wandering spirits.
- Dark colored and red clothes, as well as dark colored nail polish, are not worn during the month. These might confuse the spirits and think you are one of them and may lead you back to the underworld when they go back.
- Trekking and jungle trips or camping should be done before the said month or during the days only.
ANCIENT PROTECTION BELIEFS
Enough of the scary stuff and the things to our ancestors avoid during this time. We have collected some of the amulets and rituals our ancestors use to stay lucky and avoid all the misfortunes of this spirit-filled month.
- Offer food, incense, candles and burn joss paper. Food offerings are normally simple foods like roast meats, vegetarian dishes, uncooked rice, peanuts, raw noodles, unpeeled fruit and uncut meats. Small cups of tea, beer, and rice wine are also offered as beverages.
- A Red underwear is believed to ward off spirits during this month. It is also worn when the need to make a decision arise. Wearing a “Red” one is believed to scare away the bad spirits.
- Stay positive, and happy. Evil spirits tend to veer away from happy events.
- Rock salt is spread in the doorstep or outside the window to scare away the hungry ghosts.
- For those who believe in amulets, a photo, a figure or the actual amulet are used to protect oneself, the home or the office when displayed or carried around:
- a. Chung Kwei is the god of the underworld. He is the one who controls and drives away the hungry ghosts. It is displayed near the door or near entrances.
- b. The evil eye is for protection for the whole year. It is worn as a necklace or placed near the door to absorb bad energy.
- c. Dragon tortoise absorbs bad energy and placed in the living room facing the door or window.
- d. Kwan Kong is the Chinese warrior god who guards the home or business against evil elements.
- e. Monkey king whips away the hungry ghosts out of your home or office.
- f. Seven Star Sword made of genuine peach wood prevents wandering spirits from coming near you or your home. It will chase away bad energies.
There is indeed a lot to do to prepare, a lot to avoid to be safe and a lot to use for protection all these are done in the old days to be safe during the ghost month. In reality, there are only 2 things to keep in mind. Have a positive attitude towards others, in your thoughts and positivity in your action. Second, Pray. Prayer is the most powerful weapon you can have to protect you and to keep you safe all day, every day anywhere and anytime. Fear not as the “Ghost Month” is just like our celebration of “The Day of the Departed Love Ones” or the “Halloween”.