Lifestyle, Stories

What Does Ghost Month Mean For The Chinoys

ConCHIbutor: Darwyn Albert Tanya Mendoza | 吳永發

The Ghost Month is a month full of inauspicious dates that all should be careful of, which takes place on the 7th lunar month. Traditionally, Chinoys have been observing ‘The Hungry Ghost Festival,’ which occurs on the 15th day of the 7th lunar month, which is considered to be the strongest day of the Ghost Month. The Ghost month for the year 2020 begins on August 19 and ends on September 16. The Hungry Ghost Festival takes place on September 2, 2020. During the 7th lunar month, significant events such as Tinghun (Engagement), Wedding, Starting a new business, Investments, Opening bank accounts, Signing contracts, Major surgical operations, Constructions, etc. are to be avoided.  It is believed that on the first day of Ghost month, gates of the underworld open and the spirits wander the earth. Two weeks after they come here, they become hungry, thus a need for us, the living, to feed them or else they get angry.

Things Chinoys follow during the upcoming Ghost Month:

1) For ancestors who passed away recently or less than two years, offerings should be done on September 1, 2020, a day before the Hungry Ghost Festival.

 2) For ancestors who passed away for more than two years, offerings must be done on September 2, 2020, the day of the Hungry Ghost Festival itself. 

3) Offer food (except beef) or round fruits in odd numbers (3 of a kind, 5 of a kind, etc.). Noodles can also be offered; however, it must be either Bihon or Sotanghon only. Misua or Birthday noodles is a no-no since this is to be served only for birthdays/happy celebrations.

4) Use even number of incense/joss sticks for the deceased (two sticks per ancestor). Use three maroon incense/joss sticks for each of the Gods (土地公丶觀音媽丶etc.). 

5) Use only the color maroon incense/joss sticks for ancestors who passed away for more than two years. Use color yellow incense/joss sticks for ancestors who passed away recently or less than two years.

6) Light incense for the Gods first before the deceased.

7) Using red candles for ancestors who passed away for more than two years. Use yellow candles for those who passed away for a year, and use white for the newly deceased. Except for those who were a hundred years old when the deceased passed, use red candles.

8) Use Gold Joss Paper (with three-person print, 壽金) for the Gods. Use Gold Joss Paper (刈金) for ancestors who passed away for more than two years. Use Silver Joss Paper (小銀) for ancestors who passed away recently or less than two years.

9) Along with gold/silver joss papers, it must also have drawings of furniture, appliances, clothes, and other necessities to burn with.

10) Offering an odd number of a kind of food to the lost souls (好兄弟) inside their garage in front of their gate and stick one incense per food. Use a joss paper called, “Kwa-Kim”, a special joss paper that is wrapped in newspaper, it can be bought at all Chinese bakeries/stores. A small table for 土地公 (Earth God) on the right side (facing the gate) beside the offering table for 好兄弟 must also be displayed.


11) “Pwa-pwe” by throwing the “Jiaobei (筊杯)” to the floor, (a pair of half-circle red wood, to ask the deceased if they are done with their feast). If the Pwa-Pwe comes out as “No” / “Maybe”, come back for a few more minutes and try again. If it comes out as “Yes”, burn first the joss paper of the gods, followed by the joss paper of the deceased.


Pwa-pwe – Collectors Connection

12) It is important not to disturb the altar and table of food offerings once incense has been lit as the spirits might get offended. Clean up the ancestor’s altar after burning all the joss paper and enjoy the food that has been offered.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply