Updated 6th August 2021
The Hungry Ghost Month this year is starting from the 8th of August until the 6th of September 2021 so the Chinese believe many hungry ghosts wander around the human realm bringing accidents, illness and misfortunes. This is a time when the Gates of Hell are wide open and spirits and ghosts from the Hell realms will roam freely on Earth to “seek food and entertainment” – all at the expense of humans. During the full moon of this month, 20th and 21st of August 2021, it is also customary to make offering to the wandering spirits and ancestors by burning joss paper, various paper merchandise, incense as well as various food offerings on the area just outside of their homes as an attempt to appease the spirits and discourage them from bringing problems to the family. If you are walking around the neighbourhood, you should make sure that you do not accidentally kick or knock over any of the offerings made during the night of the full moon as doing so may bring the wrath of a wandering spirit on you.
There are a number of taboos practiced by different ethnic Chinese groups during this month long period, and we list here the main taboos to stay safe during this dark period.
The first one is to not stay out late at night (especially pregnant women and young children), not to go swimming in the sea or lake, not to wait alone under a tree or bus stop after sun down, and most importantly not to pick up any money or coins that you come across on the road.
If you hear someone call your name, do not turn your head around, but instead wait for the call to repeat, and on the 3rd time, stop and turn your whole body to see who is calling out to you, just in case it is a wandering spirit calling out to you. Of course this applies only after sun down and in the outdoors. It is also forbidden to tap someone on their head or shoulders during this month as by doing so may weaken the spiritual lights that everyone has which can then make them vulnerable to being affected by wandering spirits.
A little known fact from a Paht Chee perspective is the Star of Yin Gate. Print out your Paht Chee Chart and look for the animal in your Day pillar, then from the table, identify the animal that represents the Star of Yin Gate, then look at your Hour pillar, and if you have that corresponding animal, you possess this star.
If your chart indicates that you have this star then it is forbidden for you to attend funerals save that of close relatives. It is also not recommended that you visit anyone that is seriously ill in the hospital. This is because the Star of Yin Gate makes it very easy for you to offend the spirits of the recently deceased. The Chinese believe that there are two torches of fire on top of each your shoulders and these torches are meant to ward off spirits and spiritual influences. So when you have the Star of Yin Gate, it means that your fires are very dim to the point of almost going out, thus rendering you very vulnerable to spiritual attack. So if you have this star in your chart, you should wear or carry protective amulets such as Prayer Wheel Pendants, or the 28 Hums or Nightspot keychain.