10 things you should never do during this Hungry Ghost Festival

10 things you should never do during this Hungry Ghost Festival

It’s that time of the month again when it’s always better to play it safe than sorry, whether or not you are “pantang” (superstitious) about such things. The Hungry Ghost Festival is the seventh month of the lunar calendar where all hell breaks loose (literally). “Hungry ghosts” from the netherworld are believed to revisit the land for an entire month to look for food, and entertainment.

Here are the 10 things you should never do to make sure you do not offend these spirits unknowingly, or have ‘them’ following you home this Hungry Ghost month.

Do not touch/step/kick prayer items and food offerings by the roadside

You will see these lined up along the roadside. Watch where you are going. Keep your eyes off from your phone, and on where you are walking and avoid accidentally kicking them.


In the event you accidentally step on them, be sure to apologise right away. You wouldn’t want to risk any unfortunate things happening to you as a result of this. Imagine someone stepping on your food, you would be angry too right?

Do not mouth your vulgarities out loud

There are spirits everywhere who can hear you, when you curse, you may also offend and anger spirits who happen to be on your path. You really do not want to be shown that you are being disrespectful to ‘them’.

Do not turn your head around when you hear someone calling your name or tap your shoulders from behind

According to Chinese culture belief, everyone has a ‘spiritual protective flame’ on each shoulder, and by turning your head over your shoulder, you will end up putting one flame out resulting in an imbalanced energy which will make you more vulnerable to spirit possessions.

So, if you hear your name from behind at night while walking in quiet streets alone, just keep walking straight and never turn your head back.

Do not move into a new place or start your renovations

As much as you are feeling all the excitement about your new place, this month is known to be an inauspicious month in the Chinese culture. You might also want to take note of this before proceeding with your renovations. Unwelcomed spirits, who are roaming around, are likely to ‘gate-crash’ this.

It doesn’t really hurt to delay it for a month, right?

Do not wear red or black, and high heels

The hungry ghosts are said to be attracted to these colours. Unless you want to attract some attention, it’s better to stow them away it your wardrobe. As for the heels, it is said that when one’s feet are elevated away from the ground, it leaves the person open for being possessed by spirits from the energy point below the ankles. Whether you are superstitious enough to believe this, we will leave it entirely to you.

 Do not stay out late

There’s always a reason why your parents always want you to come home early and not stay out late. Well, especially for the Hungry Ghost month, the after dark is when wandering ghosts are at their strongest due to the yin energy. For once, let’s heed your parents advice and play it safe.

Do not hang around places with the Water element

Yes, swimming pools, beaches, dams, and reservoirs (especially Bedok reservoir) are a taboo during this month, especially at night. We have heard stories of how spirits who have drowned are out to pull the legs of those who are swimming there so they can be reincarnated.

Do not pick up any strange items you found on the streets, like coins

If it’s not yours, it’s not yours. You might chance upon coins on the streets during this month as they are part of the Hungry Ghost Festival ritual, and they belong to the spirits. Do the math first when you see a coin and are tempted to pick it up.

Do not sit in the front row at getai performances

Getai performances are usually organised around various neighbourhoods in Singapore to entertain wandering spirits during the Hungry Ghost Festival. Front row seats are usually reserved for ‘them’, and they are usually kept empty.

2020 is an unprecedented year even for the wandering spirits. There will not be any live performances this year, instead they will be live streamed on sites like Zhong Yuan Festival. If you want to catch one just for the experience of it, you can now do so at the comfort of your home.

We were told not to hang our clothes overnight as it easily attracts the spirit to possess them, and in turn you might bring them into the house along with the clothes.

PS: The above are just guidelines provided for informational purposes only, it will not guarantee your safety. Keep the rule of thumb - respect the spirits and don’t do anything foolish.


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