The Ghost Festival, also known as the Hungry Ghost Festival or the Month of Spirits is a traditional Buddhist and Taoist festival held in a lot of Asian countries. One of which is Vietnam.
In Chinese culture, the gate of hell is opened annually on the 15th of lunar July and every single hungry spirit captured takes this one and only chance to kind of “come back home” and find food on earth. It is when ghosts and spirits come out from the lower realm and visit the living. Therefore, those, all people like us, who live on Earth have been telling themselves to offer a special “combo” on almost every street on the date in exchange of the annoyance from these evil spirits. Given a tiny long digestive system, they are nearly incapable of swallowing casual food but porridge, rice, and salt only.
During this month, there are a few things that the Vietnamese often avoid doing. Today, I will tell you the top
- Don’t shave your legs this month!Vietnamese people often say that: “One single leg hair can hold 3 ghosts” and the more strands you have, the higher chance of having ghosts follow you you get.
- Don’t put your chopsticks upstraight in the middle of your bowl of rice!
- Assumed as a form of worshipping with 2 incenses embed into the ground, this action can be considered bad luck when you are about to invite those evil spirits to share the same meal with you.
- Never air your clothes at night as those spirits are wearing them behind your back. Well, it’s not that good if you put them back on again, or else you may call yourself a doctor!Let me set it straight! It’s raining like cats and dogs during this time as of rainy season. Airing your clothes outside obviously bring you sickness after you wear them back on, ‘cause they cannot stay dry! Am I right?
- Don’t ever eat any of the items after you offer them!
It will come to your vision when you visit China, Japan, or Vietnam at the moment. Foods are placed on the street without covered! Evidently, even Jesus gets sick eating that!
- Don’t swim!
For God’s sake, they say those spirits are going to twist your ankles in the water. They will, if you don’t warm yourself up but jumping right into the pool!
- Try not scaring the crab out of people!
Because their own spirit is displaced after jumping out of their body by the evil one, thanks to you! And one more excuse, you will probably get a slap if you try to scare people right.
- Avoid staying out late! (Another saying is “Don’t party hard”)
Or else those evils are following you home! Or cops, or any kind of murderers! Please stay safe!
- A windbell should not be placed on the top of your bed!
Its sound may attract the spirits to come and harm you, which leads to sleep disorder. For sure, how can you even close your eyes in peace when the bell just keeps ringing right next to your ears?
- Don’t say your friends’ names and call them out loud at night if you don’t want spirits to remember and call their names.
In this month, you should show your utmost sincerity to the festival or the wandering spirits themselves, simply by offering a tray of food on the pavement, at the corner in front of your house. It can go with some “joss paper” and incenses. The best dates to perform this ritual are the 2nd and 16th of lunar July.
Go vegan on some of the specific dates or even the whole month will do good!
Culture and tradition are absolute quintessence deserved a good place in the stream of history, no matter where or what kind of performances they are carried out. And basically, worshipping any kind of Gods, or even wandering spirits as I am talking about, is a matter of fact that stays for thousands of years, which reflects the common sense and pure mindset of our ancestors. Hence, either it is good or bad, we have our own right to follow or not, but accepting and respecting it are the most essential factors.