July 31, 2011
Good day folks. Its been quite a while since I’ve written down happy thoughts thats probably because all I have in mind at the end of every long tiring day would be projects & due dates; its almost impossible to actually allow myself to dwell into the sweeter thoughts. I would gladly assume that could be one of the reasons why I’ve been having nightmares so frequently lately, ones that seem stupid & meaningless to some people which I did try explaining myself to, but hey considering my history with the “month” you’ve got to look deeper than that.
Most people don’t believe in ghosts, I don’t either; but I honestly believe in the existence of other beings among us and forces which the eyes cannot see. Someone once told me that if you’ve ever been exposed in anyway to spirits, the tendency of them getting to you again is much higher; in other words more accessible. Nobody will ever believe in what you have to say if you’re ever exposed to one because seeing is believing. And to some extent, even your closest friends would jump into conclusions claiming that you’re just being paranoid when the truth remains, you’re indeed being troubled.
During this time (typically somewhere between August and September), it is believed that the Gates of Hell are open, freeing ghosts and spirits to roam our world, away from their sufferings in the underworld where they had been banished to. It is believed that these spirits will be hungry for comfort and food, while some may seek out revenge or settlement for unfinished business.
- Avoiding standing under the tree or under the bus stop during night time.Usually it is dark and cold under the tree shade and bus stop. It is believed that these “things” will usually rest under that kind of condition. If you are “good” luck that day, it will follow you back home.
- Do not step or kick the praying items and temporary altar by the roadside.During the Lunar 7th month, there will be a lot of praying items and temporary altars placed by the roadside and these are all meant for the “thing”. If you accidentally stepped on them, it is better that you apologise to them. Else if you get them angry I am not sure what they can do.
- Do not place your kid on the altar/offering table when visiting or praying to these sites.As there was a case where a mother took her child to this event, the kid’s shoe dropped while the mother was handling some offerings. The mother placed the kid on the altar to pick up the shoe from the floor. After she got the shoe, the whole kid had turned into blank color and passed away.
- Don’t stay out late at night. It is best to be home by sunset. The elders used to say that this is the time where the yin energy is at the strongest and most powerful, and that bad things could happen if you are not careful. Also, it is also another belief that the spirits could roam the streets freely to their content without being obstructed by human beings which is also another reason why some Chinese shops close down early during this month)
- Don’t Travel on the road, by flight or by ship. It is advisable to postpone any major travel or vacation during this time to avoid any mishap or accident. Of course, if you happen to be driving to work, you can’t avoid that, but do be extra careful when you’re driving as well.
- Don’t Step on the praying paraphernalia or burning paper/food.These are food and offerings to the spirits, and avoid stepping onto or kicking them away as this could offend the spirits. After all, if it were you, would you like to have your food/gifts being stepped or kicked off? (reverse the situation)
- Don’t Move into new house or change new furniture/mattress (No housewarming or house parties as well). This could inadvertently ‘invite’ some wandering spirits into your house as you are moving items and into a new unoccupied space which the spirits could deem as their own as well. Furthermore, they could hide from the guards to escape going back to their realm.
- Don’t Curse and swear everywhere.You could incur a spirit’s wrath if you happened to be in his path as it could be perceived as being disrespectful.
- Don’t Get married. Weddings during this month may not have a good ending, as believed, as there may be bad curses or hex placed by spirits on them. Furthermore, you would not want to have additional ‘uninvited guests’ crashing your party which you obviously did not plan for, do you?
- Don’t Place your child on the offering altar when you are visiting the temples or the sites where the Guardian of Hungry Ghosts/Hell is located.I have shared a story which my aunts have told me before on how a mother used to place her child on the offering altar while preparing her offerings and when she turned to check on her child, the child was already breathless. Anything placed on the offering altar may be considered as an offering to the spirits and they will take it.
- Don’t Paint your nails black. Much as you think it is funky to do so, refrain from doing so particularly during this month as only the dead have nails which turned black due to the halt in blood flow. Black nails may lead the spirits to think that you are one of them and may lead you back to hell as well.
- Don’t Whistle/Sing at night. For obvious reasons, you could be attracting the attention of the roaming spirits.
- Don’t Swim or play in the sea/river. There are spirits who have drowned and there is a belief they may be out to take revenge or to find a substitute to take their place in death to allow for their reincarnation or to leave the place where their souls linger.
- Don’t Sit on the front rows or seats which are left vacant while the others are all occupied.This is especially when you watch the street performances such as opera or ko-tai, as some still follow the old tradition to reserve the first row of seats for the spirits as a form of respect. In the older days, they do the same in the cinema; there is always a row of vacant seats which they reserve specially for the unseen.If you are running late and you notice that there are empty seats in the front row, just stand by the side. It’s better to stand than to offend any of the spirit.
- Don’t Look underneath the altar table/offerings table when there is a prayer session. If you are unlucky, you may spot some unseen having their feast underneath the table and they don’t like being disturbed.
“This is a true story, which happened to one of my aunts before she was married.
She had personally related her story to us when we were young and I remembered my mum telling it to me too.
My aunt (I won’t reveal which aunt) had an ability to see ghosts; an ability that she did not appreciate as it did not bring any good to her. She had a rather strong yin energy, according to one of the mediums whom grandmother brought her to.
That was why she could see or sense the presence of the spirits.
This happened when she was in her early twenties; before she was married.
She was the one helping my grandmother with the household chores and usually that required her to work in the kitchen.
She was finishing her chores that night; which coincidentally was during the 7th month (aka the Hungry Ghost month).
It was getting late at night and she was boiling water and she happened to look outside of the door.
(My grandmother used to live in those pre-war old shophouses, and there is an alley between the row of shophouses which is quite wide. They like to leave the back door of the kitchen open, but the latch on the outer metal gate would be locked. The wooden door would be left wide open to allow ventilation within the kitchen)There was a small red shrine at the back alley, which was slightly at a diagonal angle from my grandmother’s kitchen. She spotted an old man crouching in front of the shrine.
Initially she thought he was just placing his offerings at the altar although she found it weird at that time of the night; it was almost 11+ at night.She then heard crunching and munching sounds and she noticed that he was eating those food/offerings at the shrine and she was surprised.She stared and noticed that the old man was staying in the row behind my grandmother’s, it was someone they had known for years. The only thing is, he had died a few weeks ago!
She realized it and immediately closed the door and ran into the living hall!
I think she developed a fever the following day or something like that, and after some remedy from the medium, she recovered fine.Thankfully there was nothing malevolent about the spirit nor were there any harm done.”
The reason I’m sharing this is because I am kinda freaked out myself after what happened the past couple of nights. Don’t think I should freak you out with my stories because I am kinda getting used to this; but if you have any other “do’s and dont’s” please do share it with me. If you don’t believe in these things, leave it to the benefit of the doubt that the word the unknown is created a reason. I’ve been hearing so many stories of accidents happening so frequently last couple of days. Friends please do be extra careful when you drive out at night, and don’t take things for granted.
Take good care of yourself.