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The Hungry Ghost Festival

The seventh month of the lunar calendar is also known as Ghost Month, according to Chinese customs. This is the month where the gates of hell are opened to free the hungry errant ghosts and spirits, searching for food. When they visit, special precautions and ceremonies are necessary. The Hungry Ghost Festival, or Yu Lan, is the most important festival of Hungry Ghost Month and is celebrated on the 15th day. Whether you believe in Ghost Month or not, it’s not a bad thing to take note of a few reminders to stay safe during this ominous period.

Taboos During Ghost Month:

  • If you were born during Ghost Month, avoid celebrating at night. Only celebrate your birthday during daylight hours.

  • Ghosts are drawn to the color red, so avoid wearing that color or else a ghost may attach itself to you.

  • Spirits stick to walls, so don’t lean against them.

  • Never disturb a ghost’s food or offerings. If you do, apologize profusely.

  • The night is not for humans during Ghost Month, it is for the dead. Unless it’s in honor of them, don’t do activities outside after dark.

  • Always close exterior doors, you don’t want to invite in wandering ghosts.

  • Don’t pee on a tree, as it will offend the spirits residing there.


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