In Chinese culture, the seventh month of the Chinese calendar is regarded as the Hungry Ghost Month. It is believed that during this month, the gates of hell are opened up and ghosts and spirits are free to roam the Earth where they seek food and entertainment. These ghosts are believed to be ancestors of those who forgot to pay tribute to them after they died or those who were never given a proper ritual send-off. During this time, the deceased are believed to visit the living. In this article, I will share with you when Hungry Ghost Month 2023 starts, how long it will last, and give you some helpful tips on what to do and avoid during this month.
What Is the Hungry Ghost Month?
The origin of the Hungry Ghost month derives from the Mahayana scripture known as the Yulanpen or Ullambana Sutra. The sutra describes the time when Maudgalyayana achieves abhijna and uses his newfound powers to search for his deceased parents. Maudgalyayana discovers that his deceased mother was reborn into the hungry ghost realm. She was in a wasted condition, and Maudgalyayana decided to help her by giving her a bowl of rice. Unfortunately as a ghost, she couldn’t eat the rice as it was transformed into burning coal.
Then Maudgalyayana asks Buddha to help him, and Buddha explains to him how one can assist one’s current parents and deceased parents in this life and one’s past seven lives by willingly offering food and other things to the sangha or monastic community during Pravarana. Usually, it occurs on the fifteenth day of the seventh month whereby the monastic community transfers the merits to the deceased parents.
On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, the realms of Heaven and Hell and the realm of the living are open. During this time, both Taoists and Buddhists would perform rituals to transmute and absolve the sufferings of the deceased. An integral part of the Hungry ghost month is the veneration of the dead.
From Energy Perspective
During Hungry Ghost Month, the Yin energy overpowers the Yang. The Yin energy becomes extremely strong during this period. When Yin energy dominates a house, it starts to attract wandering spirits. A house with too much Yin energy starts to become very dark and dangerous to live in.
During Hungry Ghost Month, it is essential to be extra careful, especially during nighttime.
Hungry Ghosts Month 2023
As I already mentioned, the Hungry Ghost month starts on the fifteenth day of the seventh month. According to the Chinese Lunar calendar, this year, this period starts on August 16th and ends on September 14th.
Recommendations For Hungry Ghost Month 2023
Now let me give you some helpful tips for staying safe during Hungry Ghost month.
#1: Perform incense offering ritual
Incense smoke calms down the local spirit to perform this ritual and hungry ghosts. During Hungry Ghost Month, performing this ritual every evening is very beneficial. The best time for doing this is right after sunset.
To perform this ritual, light up Sandalwood incense or any other sweet-smelling incense. Place the incense in your incense burner and walk clockwise around your rooms and outside your home while chanting the incense offering mantra:
NAMAH SARVA TATHAGATHA AVALOKITE OM SAMBHARA SAMBHARA HUNG
When you finish the walk-about of your home, dedicate all the incense and offerings to the dakinis, holy beings, angels, spiritual protectors, and wandering spirits around you, and request that they look after you instead of harming you. Don’t extinguish the incense. Let it burn until it has finished burning.
#2: Use protection
Hungry Ghost Month is the time when the likelihood of accidents, robberies, violent acts, and mishaps increases. Using spiritual protection will help you to avert negative vibes.
Throughout the month try to always wear some kind of spiritual protection on your body such as amulets that are embellished with specific protective sigils, symbols, or mantras.
#3: Invite The White Umbrella Goddess
This powerful protection can be used to prevent spirit harm and black magic attacks. It is believed that her thousand arms each carrying a white parasol, protect against a thousand dangers caused by harmful spirit beings.
You can invite her protection into your home by displaying the White Umbrella Goddess Plaque by your main entrance.
#4: Use The Peacock Feathers Mirror Fan
#5: Wear the Diamond Cutter Sutra Prayer Wheel
This beautiful Diamond Cutter Sutra Prayer Wheel amulet is a powerful protection against negative energies. Additionally, it can attract positive chi. To activate the protection ability of this prayer wheel, twirl it clockwise daily. You can also wear it daily as a powerful protection amulet. It will safeguard you from natural disasters, viral infections, physical dangers, and premature death.
What to Avoid During the Hungry Ghost Month 2023?
During the Hunger Ghost period, it is recommended to avoid:
- going swimming;
- spending time outdoors after dark and wandering alone at night;
- moving into a new house;
- officiating new businesses;
- getting married;
- hiking or camping (chances of injuries, illness, spirit possession, and death are high);
- placing your hands on anyone’s shoulder (it leads to weakening your internal energies and increasing the chances of spirits possession);
- wearing hats or caps at sundown (it weakens your life force, increasing the possibility of being haunted);
- traveling by plane or by boat;
- wearing red or black clothes;
- wearing black nail polish;
- visiting someone in the hospital;
- attending funerals;
- picking up any coins that you come across on the road.
The Bottom Line
There are several taboos and recommendations practiced by different ethnic Chinese groups during this month-long period. In this article, I shared the main taboos and recommendations to stay safe during this dark period. Let this month be safe and full of abundance for you and your families!