In the Chinese culture, â€œGhost Monthâ€ falls every year on the seventh month of the lunar calendar. The legend says that on this month the ghosts and spirits, including those of deceased ancestors, come out from the lower realm. Because Chinese people worship their ancestors, Ghost month is meant to pay homage to their ancestors when the deceased visit the living.
During this month, adults and children face a lot of taboo and must be extremely careful. For example; it is bad to go swimming or play beside any deep water edge as the â€œwater ghostâ€ might drown you; children are not advised to wander around late at night as the â€œlittle ghostâ€ might play pranks or possess the children.
The Ghost Festival is celebrated on the 15th night of the seventh lunar month. The conventional thinking of â€œphilanthropyâ€ in China has even been extended on this day to allow those â€œlonely, without wandering ghost descendantsâ€ to enjoy the zeal of the human world. Every household will worship and offer sacrifices to the ancestors and spirits of the unknown world, with food and drinks.
In Taiwan, we call these spirits the â€œgood brothersâ€ and on the Ghost Festival, we â€œpu duâ€ or worship the realms of the unknown. On the evening of â€œpu duâ€, every houseâ€™s threshold will lay a table of bumper meals, where each meal has an incense stick on it. This is called the â€œdoor worshipâ€. After the worship, â€œghost moneyâ€ is burnt for the spirits to spend and the offerings are removed.
The folk customs for â€œpu duâ€ has certain conventions and taboos as well, for example, longan fruit are regarded as the â€œmoney roll moneyâ€, apple as â€œsafe-peaceâ€, dragon-fruit as â€œbusiness winning streakâ€, asian-pears as â€œaway from dangerâ€, pomelo as â€œprotectionâ€. The taboo fruits like bananas, pears and plums are not worship together because the Chinese syllable for these items sound like â€œto beckonâ€ and it is not advisable to beckon or welcome the â€œgood brothersâ€ to oneâ€™s own house.
Ghost Festival is one of the most important festivals celebrated among the Chinese culture. Hope everyone enjoys peace and joy!