5 Ways Chinoys Can Observe Ghost Month Traditions

Many people are familiar with Ghost Month, but how exactly do Chinoys remember the traditions? 

For some, Ghost Month is like the Halloween season, where they will watch horror movies on Netflix or perhaps, some consider it just like any other month of the year. But Ghost Month has traditions every Chinoy should observe. It’s about honoring your ancestors, paying respect to the spirits and embracing the culture you’re in. 

So, as the gates of the underworld will be opened from August 16 to September 14 2023, here are some ways Chinoys can observe the Ghost Month traditions to preserve the rich culture. 

1.Feed the Hungry Ghosts 

According to the traditions, the spirits of the dead wander for several days as they visit the living world. It’s the responsibility of the family members to feed them food once they get tired and hungry after days of wandering.  

As Chinoys, you can participate in preparing the food so you can offer them to your ancestors. So, what food should you offer? You can prepare their favorite food, lucky or symbolic foods, small snacks, etc. Better yet, ask your elders to know more about your deceased loved ones so you can prepare them their favorite meals.

Read More: The Hungry Ghost Festival: What Foods You Should Offer to the Dead

2. Honor Your Ancestors

Honoring your ancestors is a sign of respect. In the Ghost Month tradition, most families set up an altar with the photograph of their ancestors along with incense, joss papers, joss sticks, and food offerings, including three cups of tea, rice, and wine. 

You can do your part here by helping your family members set up the altar before the Ghost Month starts and maintaining it throughout the Month. This way, you can preserve the tradition and remember your beloved ancestors. 

3. Fold and Float Boat Lanterns

If you have the opportunity to attend such events, do so. It’s an experience where you can fully embrace your roots and culture. Some people also call it the Zhongyuan Festival or Hungry Ghost Festival. It’s a festival that honors the departed, where you can fold or float boat lanterns. 

As you float the boat lanterns in a body of water, it symbolizes the “river of hell,” where the spirits of the dead rest. The lights from the boat lanterns can also guide souls and help trapped souls from purgatory through the illuminating light.

4. Respect The Ghost Month Tradition 

Indeed, not all people believe in the supernatural, and that doesn’t mean they can disrespect the Ghost month tradition. Yes, they can still go on with their daily lives, but being more aware of the traditions can show respect. 

As a Chinoy, you can research more about the traditions and do your best to be more educated. You can also ask your parents about what you can do to preserve this culture.

Learn More: Ghost Month: Here’s What You Need to Know and How It Can Affect You

5. Follow the Dos and Don’ts 

Finally, there’s nothing wrong with being a little cautious during the Ghost month. You can also follow the dos and don’ts to keep the traditions alive. So, here are some things you need to avoid:  staying out late at night, doing water activities, getting married, starting a business, traveling, and moving to new houses. 

On the other hand, here are the things you need to do: pray more, light incense, offer food, and respect the traditions.

It’s important to observe the Ghost Month traditions to embrace your Filipino-Chinese roots and culture. So, try to follow the five ways above to commemorate this beautiful culture of honoring your departed loved ones. 


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