10 Taboos during Chinese Ghost Month

The seventh month in the lunar calendar is the month ghosts can roam around the living world. In Taiwan, it is believed there are some taboos to avoid during the ghost month from devious spirits’ attention. This article is going to describe the reasons for the top 10 taboos and folklores.

  1. Do not go to Swimming in the sea or lake.
    People believe that “lake specters”, or “water ghosts” wait in the water to catch people who come swimming as their “replacements” so that they can use human bodies to reincarnate and return the living world.

2. Do not whistle at night.
Whistling at night is thought to easily draw spirits’ attention, once they’ve lured in, they might follow you and bring you ill fortune for a long time.

Whistling at night

3. Do not pick up money or “red envelopes” on the street.
Some people believe that the money on the street might be “road toll” for the spirits during Ghost Month. It would be stealing if you pick up the money.
Furthermore, the “red envelope” on the road usually might be a dowry of a “bridge” from the underworld, who waiting for someone to marry her. If you pick the red envelope up, you have to get married, in a so-called “posthumous marriage”. It sounds like a trap, isn’t it?

Pick up the Money on the road.

4. Do not just turn your head around if someone pats on your shoulder from behind.
In Chinese culture, people believe that the living has three invisible protecting flames, one on the head and others on each shoulder. You might snuff out the flame making you vulnerable when you just turn your head. Since you can’t be sure the one who pats on your shoulder is a human or not, don’t just turn your head over.

Pat on your shoulder from behind

5. Do not open an umbrella indoor.
In Taoism, it is said that an umbrella is usually to collect and draw in yin energy, therefore, spirits tend to under umbrellas for protection from the sun. Furthermore, Umbrella in Chinese called “San” is a homophone with the word for scattering, which signifies scattering one’s wealth and family.

Open an umbrella indoor

6. Do not hang your clothes outside at night.
People said that some spirits might wear your clothes when you hanging your clothes on the balcony outside to dry, as a way to sneak into your house.

Hang clothes outside at night

7. Do not take the terminal bus at midnight.
According to the superstition, midnight is when the ghosts are most active, and the terminal bus usually travels at midnight. To avoid from one of them following home, do not take the terminal bus at midnight.

take the terminal bus

8. Do not pee on a tree.
According to the superstition, urinating on a tree will annoy tree spirits, which will seek vengeance upon the person who does a piss.

pee on a tree

9. Do not lean against the wall.
Ghosts are font to sticking or hanging on the wall because of the cooler. Avoid to lean on walls during the month or you may be blocking the way of the spirits.

lean against the wall

10. Avoid unnecessary trips to hospital, or operations.
Hospital is traditionally regarded as a place exchange living and dead energies (called yin and yang), therefore, it’s an easy gathering place for spirits.

trip to hospital

Hope you understanding the culture about Chinese Ghost Month after reading this article. Your reading, my writing motivation. Thank you for taking read it. Medea is willing to share the life with you. ^^