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The Month of Hungry Ghost (from August 22nd till September 19th)

This year, the Hungry Ghost period starts from August 22nd and ends September 19th in the 7th month of the Lunar Calendar. The actual day falls on 5th September 2017. In the month of hungry ghost, it is said that the yin overpowers the yang. The yin forces are thus very strong during this period. When yin chi dominates a house, it starts to attract ghosts and wandering spirits who thrive in such places. A house with too much yin energy starts to become dark and overshadow whatever sunglight that enters. Houses built over gravesites are also attractive places for ghosts to convene.

During the month of the hungry ghost, the Chinese believe it is important to be extra vigilant and careful, particularly during night time. This is the time of year when hungry ghosts and wandering spirits are released from “hell” to roam freely, making it a very dangerous month. The gates of the ghost realms are thrown open and souls of the dead will return to visit their living relatives, while the wandering spirits will roam about the streets.

To appease them, joss sticks and meals are left outside for the hungry ghosts and dead relatives to enjoy. Prayers and ritual prosperity items are offered to the deceased through the medium of fire, i.e. paper money, paper houses, paper transportation, paper accessories and joss sticks. This brings great relief to the spirits and affords them some material comforts when they return to hell at the end of the month. The Chinese believe that great merit and good fortune is attained by offering these poor hungry spirits some food and shelter during this time.

Hungry ghosts can cause harm to those whose chi energy is depleted or low. To counter this one should wear amulets and ensure that there is an excess of yang energy. Wear bright colours and play music! This why Chinese Temples will put on feasts and opera shows to distract the wandering spirits and perform prayers for them.


  1. Avoid swimming during this 7th month. It is believed that evil spirits that previously drowned will look for souls to claim in exchange for a passage ticket to rebirth.
  2. Children and young adults are also advised to stay indoors after dark and avoid wandering alone at night. Children are particularly susceptible to spirit possession so it’s advisable to wear seed syllable amulets of protection like the syllable HUM or HRIH.
  3. Avoid moving houses or officiating new businesses this month. It is considered an inauspicious month for such activities.
  4. Avoid getting married this month. Weddings are vulnerable to attacks from jealous female spirits who may retaliate by casting curses and bad spells on the couple. AVOID at all costs!
  5. Do not go jungle trekking or camping as these are places where spirits love to go! Chances of injuries, spirit possession and death are high.
  6. Drive carefully to avoid accidents. Wandering spirits who died of accidents are on the prowl for new victims they can exchange for reincarnation.
  7. Protect your entrances with Chung Kwei or the White Umbrella Goddess. These are the best protectors against ghosts and evil spirits.
  8. When burning paper “hell money”, spirits will gather around you to receive the “money”. It is advisable not to jump or run around while doing this as you risk offending them. Aggravated spirits can become dangerous.
  9. Avoid placing your hands on your shoulder. Everyone is said to have three flames on the body; one on the forehead, two on the shoulders. Placing a hand on one’s shoulders is said to “put out” the flame, weakening your internal energies and increasing the chances of spirits possession.
  10. The forehead must be kept clean and free of head cover. If you cover your forehead, this puts out the flame weakens your life force, increasing the possibilities of being haunted.
  11. There is a belief that if you throw knives or scissors towards a thunderstorm, this can prevent spirits from entering your house.

The best method to stay protected is to wear the right amulets and appease these spirits with regular incense offering. Incense appeases the local spirits and hungry ghosts tremendously. Burn the incense pellets and add the special powder blends. Leave your incense outside the house to complete burning.

The following article (updated on Aug 2017) is taken from the "Feng Shui World (August 2014)". To subscribe, please click here.