Hungry Ghost festival is an annual occasion that is taken very seriously in Taoist Feng Shui. This festival falls on the 7th month of the lunar New Year, which starts somewhere between July and August for one full lunar month. During this month the gates of hell are opened to free the hungry ghosts who then wander to seek food on Earth. Some even think that the ghosts would seek revenge on those who had wronged them in their lives. The reason why the Chinese celebrate this festival is to remember their dead family members and pay tribute to them. They also feel that offering food to the deceased appeases them and wards off bad luck.
Rituals and Prayer Celebrations:
The dead would return to visit their living relatives during the 7th month of the Chinese Lunar year and thus the living people would prepare sumptuous meals for the hungry ghosts. The Chinese feel that they have to satisfy the ghosts in order to get good fortune and luck in their lives. During this festival, the Chinese offer prayers to the deceased relatives, burn paper money, paper houses, paper transportation, paper accessories and joss sticks massively to their ancestors as well as wandering spirits in front of their homes. Giving the ghost such necessities would enable them to live comfortably when they go back their own world. In Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore, it is a common sight to see entertaining Chinese Opera shows performed on outdoor stages in many neighborhoods. These events are always held at night. Such entertainment would please those wandering ghosts that comes to earth once a year.
Taboos to Follow:
1. Avoid swimming during the 7th month. It is believed that those previously drowned evil ghost might cause you to drown in the swimming pool. Such ghost need to find victims in order for them to be go for rebirth.
2. Children and young adults are also advised to return home early and not to wander around alone at night. This belief is due to the reason that the wandering ghosts can possess children easily.
3. Avoid moving into new homes and opening new businesses this month as it is considered inauspicious and bad luck on new ventures.
4. Avoid getting married during this month because couples will have bad ending. Some bad ghost may cast a bad spell on couples during their wedding.
5. Avoid going for jungle trekking and going on camping trips as chances of injuries, possession and death are high.
6. Drive very carefully during this month to avoid accidents, as there may be many wandering spirits who died of accidents previously that are searching for next victims so that they could be reincarnated.
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