Ghost Month in Hong Kong

Last week of one my regular hiking fellows commented that he won’t join my next night hikes. I asked him why, and he said that the ghost month is coming up and he believes you should not be out in the wildlife at night time.

The ghost month started yesterday (August 7, 2013), it falls at the beginning of the seventh month on the Chinese Almanac Calendar. It is believed that during this time ghosts and spirits roam around freely to visit the living.

Incense spirals 4

This makes ghost month (until September 4, 2013) a bad time to do activities such as evening strolls, traveling, moving house or starting a new business. Many people avoid swimming during ghost month, since there are many spirits in the water which can try to drown you.

During the ghost month, many people offer burning rituals to these wandering ghosts and spirits, to keep them calm and peaceful during their visits. They will also leave food on the sidewalk to satisfy those appetites of the wandering hungry ghosts and bring some luck into their household.

There are also a few other traditions that I’ve heard: Throwing coins on the street is part of the Hungry Ghost Festival ritual – so you should not pick up any coins that lie on the street. Also wearing Jade will increase your energy, shielding you from evil spirits.

The 15th day is a also a special day, Ghost Day. This is the day when the spirits are in high gear. It’s important to give them a sumptuous feast, to please them and to bring luck to the family. That’s why many families will get together on the eve before and prepare a large feast for the hungry ghosts, in order to be left in peace.

I’m curious to see what shrines and offerings will be on the streets of Hong Kong over the next weeks.

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5 responses to “Ghost Month in Hong Kong

  1. if you do encounter a ghost at night in the hills, do tell us ) i recently read comic book on “Journey to the West” – Chinese ppl do have a great deal of fantasy about inventing most weird demons you could ever think of.. White Bone Spirit, Red Child, Iron Fan Princess etc.. but aren’t these beliefs exactly what makes life spicy )

    • Haha – I hope I don’t encounter a ghost. One of my colleagues told me that a few years ago she saw a strange shadow sitting on the branch of a tree at night time, it scared her a lot. I’m sure it must have just been a wild animal or big bird!

  2. It is the same here in Malaysia. There are others thing that we were advised (by myth and also by the elders)not to do during this month and also to be more careful when traveling.

    • That’s interesting to know. I’ve also just learnt that you should not walk too close to walls during the ghost month, as the ghosts can then suck you into the wall…

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