The Hungry Ghost Months lasts the full seventh month of the Lunar calendar.

The Ghost Month falls on the seventh month of the Lunar calendar, which happens to be from 29 July to 26 August 2022.

This means that during this time period, you will see people burning joss sticks, leaving food on the sidewalk, and even full stage performances to an empty crowd.

In essence, the gates of hell are opened during the seventh lunar month to let ghosts return to the living world in pursuit of their family, food, and entertainment. (In other words, even ghosts enjoy a month-long vacation!)

However, because to their size and weight, the gates of hell take two weeks to fully open. Since these are the entrances to a whole different domain, the magnitude must unquestionably correspond to its importance.

Well, that actually depends on your worldview, but generally speaking, it is advisable to exercise greater caution during this time.

Avoiding places that are dim and gloomy, staying out too late, engaging in risky or water-related activities, and other similar things.

Other suggestions might be a little more superstitious, including refraining from taking nighttime photos (lest you see something unwelcome), avoiding hanging laundry at night (lest the ghosts decide to “try on clothes” and be transported home with you), and talking to yourself (lest ghosts see this as an invitation to interact with you).

Some superstitions even advise against tapping somebody on the head or shoulders because it may extinguish their “soul fire” and bring them bad luck.

But probably most importantly, just ignore any bizarre, odd, or abnormal things that happen to you this month to avoid becoming the subject of a horror film.

If you invite your religious or superstitious friends around for dinner or supper, don’t take it personally if they say no.

The more likely it is that they will decide to stay at home after sundown the closer the date comes to the Hungry Ghost Festival. Some households may forbid members from ever leaving the house at night, not even to throw out the trash!

Despite being known as Hell and having a generally comparable concept, Hell in Chinese culture isn’t all fire and brimstone.

Most “ghosts” are basically deceased souls who were unable to “go on” and be reincarnated; they are not demons, ghouls, or anything else (though these beings are also from Hell).

Instead, the spirits are frequently restrained by some aspect of their relationship to the living world, such as selfish wants, sorrow, or unfinished business.

The Hungry Ghost Festival also serves as a time for ancestor veneration because the majority of them simply desire to reconnect with their family. Families will pray for and honour their departed elders and ancestors, expressing gratitude for them protecting and guiding the family from the afterlife.

The majority of daily living remains mostly unchanged. People continue to go to work, hang out with friends, and go on as usual.

However, it also pays to exercise a little more decency and refrain from being overly aggressive or knocking over food offerings left out on the streets. In the end, who knows? It would be wiser to err on the side of caution when dealing with the supernatural.

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