Just to share and recap the background of Ghost Festival
The 7th month of the Lunar calendar is also known as Ghost Month (鬼月), according to Chinese customs. This is the month where the gates of hell are opened to free the hungry ghosts who then wander to seek food on Earth. Of course like all Chinese customs (Wedding taboos, pregnancy taboos and many more), there are traditions and rules to follow.
Why is this year special?
It is a usual scene to see people praying and burning joss paper during the third or fourth week of August, around 7 months after the Lunar New Year, that is why we called it “Lunar 7th Month”, but for this year, the Ghost Festival actually falls on the 5th of September 2017 which is more later than usual.
What is the reason?
It is because this year is scheduled to have a leap month, which mean there is an additional month added to the Lunar Year that occurs about every 3 years in the Lunar Calendar. There are 2 lunar sixth months this year where the first lunar sixth month ends on July 22 and the second will continued until 21 August 2017, meaning that the ghost month start from 22 August 2017 and end on 19 September 2017.
During the ghost month, there are many taboos for you to take note, “better to safe than sorry”, here are some.
1. Do not stay out late in the night because spirit might follow you back.
2. Do not stab your chopsticks on your bowl of rice because it is rude in term of table manners and it also resembles the joss sticks offerings to the dead. It is indirectly cursing your own death and also telling the spirits that it is their bowl of rice.
For more taboos, you can refer to 14 Things to Avoid During the Month of Hungry Ghost Festival