Precautions during Hungry Ghost Month
Hungry Ghost Month is arguably the most frightening month for the Chinese as they believe that as Hell Gate is open the lost souls or ‘hungry’ spirits are allowed to return to the human world.
Phor Thor Kong (in Hokkien dialect) or Hungry Ghost Month which falls on the 7th month of the Chinese lunar calendar is used to pay homage to Tai Su Yeah (King of Hell) and the underworld. Millions over the ages have encountered spooky and weird experiences during Hungry Ghost Month not only with deceased ancestors but also with demons and spirits from prematurely or justly death and seeking revenge. The precautiouns is to help prevent such spooky occurrences during that month.
Paper Money offering during Hungry Ghost Festival
1) Don’t pee on trees as it might offend the spirits which resides there (I don’t understand, why would anyone would one to pee on top of a tree)
2) People should not wander late at night (no more clubbing – at least for that month!)
3) Avoid swimming (as people have dragged underwater)
4) Do not carry an umbrella into your house (which might be carried by spirits)
I would like to stop at Precautions at no. 4 and continue later, as I have a tale about carrying an umbrella to a home.
The Ong family lived in Kota Tinggi in a residential house in the state of Johore. One day after raining heavily, Helen drove their son, 7 year old Timmy, to their car. When they reached their house, Helen had to carry Timmy and their grocery in their umbrella. Helen was busy drying Timmy and she left her umbrella in the dining room. One of her neighbor (kepo ‘aunty’) came to their house and she making a fuss about the umbrella in the house. She claimed that one shouldn’t that it is forbidden to bring an umbrella home as it may carry it with a ghost especially during Hungry Ghost month.
As Helen did not believe the superstitious beliefs she politely ignored the kepo ‘aunty’. After a few weeks, they noticed there were noises in the house especially at nights. Thinking it must be the neighbors they left at that and did not think about it.
One night, Helen complained to her husband that their son, Timmy, would not get into his bed. With a sigh, Helen’s husband went upstairs and into little Timmy’s bedroom and found the boy was sitting on his bed and awake. Timmy whispered, “dad, I think there is a ghost underneath my bed”. Helen’s husband wearily said to Timmy “..no such thing as a ghost and there is nobody under your bed”. Timmy got excited and jumped onto his bed and insisted that a ghost was underneath his bed.
To prove to his young son, Timmy’s father slept on the bedroom floor and looked into the bed sheet, and he had a shock……his son, Timmy, was lying underneath the bed. Timmy had one his finger to his mouth gesturing at his father to be quiet and the other hand gesturing there is someone there on top of his bed!
He was dumbstruck momentarily and when he realized what his son was trying to tell him, he jumped out to look at the other “Timmy” on the bed….but he was gone…disappeared.