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Luck, hungry ghosts and the pandemic

By: - Reporter / @amyremoINQ
/ 04:04 AM August 15, 2020

According to Chinese belief, the next few weeks will call for caution and vigilance.

That’s because during the seventh month of the lunar calendar, commonly known as the Ghost Month, the gates of Hell are said to open, allowing lingering ghosts to freely roam in the world of the living. Because of these ghosts, the ancient Chinese believed that natural and man-made disasters occur more frequently during this period. And thus today, many continue to prefer to lay low, stay out of the limelight and avoid making crucial decisions come Ghost Month.

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But there are also ways and practices believed to help ward off the hungry ghosts and instead, usher in luck into your homes and buildings as our feng shui experts had discussed in a recent webinar hosted jointly by Ortigas Land and Inquirer Property. Titled “Inviting Luck during Ghost Month,” this webinar featured Tessa Prieto-Valdes, an interior designer, respected influencer, Inquirer Property ambassador and feng shui practitioner, and Joyce Co, a feng shui master and founder of Sutra Manila. Here are a few excerpts from the discussion, which you can still catch on the Facebook page of Ortigas Land.

Ortigas Land and Inquirer Property recently hosted a webinar titled, “Inviting Luck during Ghost Month.”

History

Co explained the history, beliefs, practices and festivities during the Ghost Month, which starts on Aug. 19 and ends on Sept. 16 this year. These lingering ghosts are said to be spirits who were denied access to Heaven for some reason, or have no descendants here on earth to make offerings on their behalf.

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Common practices during this period include offering a meal of uncooked rice, raw noodles, unpeeled fruits and tea outside the house to prevent the hungry ghost from entering; holding a Chinese opera, puppet shows or, in the modern world, karaoke and dance contests; burning “hell money” which are wads of fake paper money and assorted paper versions of earthly goods like TV, cars, houses and furniture; floating paper lanterns down a river to send wandering spirits home; displaying or wearing amulets; and donating to charity or doing acts of kindness.

Taboos

It is also widely believed that observing certain restrictions would help you avoid bad luck and misfortunes during the Ghost Month. According to Co, one should not stroll or go out at night; sing or whistle as this may attract ghosts; swim or hang out by the pool at night, among others.

Other taboos include traveling, starting a new business, getting married, performing risky medical procedures, wearing red, hanging clothes outside at night, wearing clothes with your name on it, and picking up coins or food on the street and bringing it home, among others.

Ghost month and the new normal

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many ways you can still cope with the challenges of this health crisis and the new normal, as well as the Ghost Month.

Co advises that one should acknowledge the new normal and remain positive; stay away from negativity; embrace change; practice self-care and establish healthy habits; stay connected with friends and enjoy your newfound extra time with family; explore new habits as new things help spice up your lives; consider meditation, breathing exercises and other relaxation techniques; and remember to smile and be happy.

Some practices are believed to help ward off hungry ghosts

Practical tips

Valdes meanwhile offered practical preparation tips to welcome the good chi into your living spaces without disturbing the spirits. These will also help enhance your home and make sure it is “protected” from negative energies caused by the coming Ghost Month.

It is important, Valdes said, to keep your house clean and tidy as dust, clutter, mess and dirt could block the positive chi; keep lights bright especially in dark corners and replace busted bulbs or broken lamps to invite positive energy; repair all cracks and repaint if possible; ensure that your door is strong, solid and balanced; and to keep natural air flowing into your place by opening windows and cleaning your airconditioning units.

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“During these uncertain times, keeping a healthy mind, body and soul is important to generate positive chi energy inside the home. Make sure to always appreciate blessings, move with gratitude and do acts of kindness to help protect us from the negative energies during Ghost Month,” Valdes said.

For Co, this is also the time to show kindness, empathy and compassion, to practice gratitude and be thankful with what you have. Karma, she added, “plays a vital role in shaping our destiny.”

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