Some traditional Chinese beliefs can be scarier than the Flying Monkeys but if you perform the rituals of this Buddhist/Taoist tradition that honor the spirits, be rest assured you will ghost-proof your life (and improve your luck) during the 7th lunar month aka the Ghost Month.
Dish up good food to keep the spirits happy.
On the first day of the 7th Lunar month, King Yama (the King of Hell) opens the gates letting all the spirits and ghosts ascend from the lower realm. The dead are welcomed into the family home and shrines are decorated with candles, incense, food and red paper lanterns. The spirits are given sumptuous meals to eat, a chair to rest upon, old photographs to admire, burned josh paper or hell bank notes to take with them while incense (stands for prosperity in the Chinese culture) and prayers bless the time spent together. Giving the ghost these necessities they believe will enable them to live comfortably when they go back their own world. Josh paper is burned the first lunar day outside the family residences. Families may prepare a basin of one hundred flavors and five fruits for the ghosts to feed upon with the belief that they (the ghosts) won’t do something terrible or curse them after eating their sacrifices and holding their money, only good fortune and luck will come of it.
Throw a parade for long, lost relatives.
The peak of this Buddhist and Taoist tradition is the 15th day of the Lunar month (August 28th). It is also the same time as the full moon and the fall harvest. The Chinese believe that on the days of Ghost Month and especially on the night of the full moon there is more of a bridge between the dead and the living, so they must take precautions or honor the dead. Chung-Yuan, the Chinese Ghost Festival, is celebrated with a parade and decorated lanterns that ride atop decorated floats. The procession finds its way to a river, pond or lake. The lanterns are lit and released. This is meant to give direction to lost souls and help ghosts and deities find their way to the food offerings.
Safety first. 8 taboos to scare the ghosts away.
A few thousand year old rules to stay safe this month.
- Avoid wandering alone at night nor near a wall. Spirits stick to walls and play pranks and terrorize after sundown.
- Forgo swimming! You won’t find someone who is Chinese dipping even their big toe in the water. Water is a medium for obtaining new victims for the ghosts to rebirth.
- Rethink moving into a new home, opening a new business or signing any contracts. Best not to get into something the ghosts can potentially ruin.
- Forget about getting married because the marriage will have a bad ending.
- Delay construction or remodeling where you are banging on the walls.
- Keep your hands in your pocket when you see found money on the street; don’t even think about bringing it home.
- Leave crying for the daytime, a weak mind gives ghosts the entrée to harm you.
- Stay clear of yin places like hotels (a good idea to change your travel plans right now) or cemeteries, the ghosts like to settle here.
What do the stars say about your Chinese zodiac animal in the Month of the Monkey? Here are soundbites to help you keep out of harm’s way. Rat: let the good times roll with this three harmony match. Ox: be conservative and cautious while driving. It is a good idea not to travel. Tiger: you are in direct conflict. Be careful also when traveling, instead refrain. Hare: good times and stellar results await you. Dragon: three harmony luck this month. Increased compensation and smooth progress. Snake: direct confrontation and negative spirits. Remain calm and stable. Follow the advise of the taboos. Horse: avoid impulsive decisions and avoid those who have malicious intent. Ram: the Star of Matrimony is on the ascendent. Pay attention to a family members health. Monkey: both favorable and unfavorable month. Keep calm and do not make plans. Take family members immediately to the doctor if they get sick. Rooster: remain passive, be careful of lawsuits and scoundrels. Pay attention to your diet. Dog: serious family disputes arise and alienation may happen among family members. Perhaps take everyone on a vacation Pig: luck of the month is most confrontational. You will be frustrated in most of your plans. Be cautious, there is potential for financial losses and bodily injury. Take precaution against cardiovascular disease.
Thank you to Khadro Crystal Chu, Black Sect Esoteric Buddhist Feng Shui for your unfailing command of Feng Shui and Chinese metaphysics.
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