The Hungry Ghost Festival is observed in multiple Asian nations, including Singapore. During this period of time, Taoists and Buddhists believe that the gates of hell are opened and the spirits of the deceased return to visit the living.
As a veneration of the dead, especially to one’s ancestors, you will find people paying respect by burning paper offerings or leaving food offerings.
Prior to COVID-19, you can even find mini concerts like ‘Ge Tais’ where singers, dancers or stand-up comedians perform for the viewing pleasure of both spirits and the living.
The majority of us have a general idea of what to take note of and what to avoid, such as being extra cautious to not step on any offerings or comment on the smells of smoke from burning paper offerings. Other common taboos also include not killing any insects, especially moths (as it is believed that it may be the reincarnation of ancestors) or not turning around when you hear your name at night.
However, do you know there are also a set of dos and don’ts associated with the happenings at home, such as buying property, renovating and moving?
The many property myths during the Ghost Month stems from the fact that major changes to your life during this point of time is said to result in bad luck.
To start off, some homebuyers actually put off viewings that are scheduled to happen during this month, especially night viewings as people try to avoid staying out at night. Of course, some workarounds can be made.
Whilst nighttime viewings are ill-advised, daytime viewings generally go on as usual for the less superstitious. It is also recommended by many that buyers and sellers alike should make their entrance known before stepping in the vacant property, by knocking and saying aloud/in their hearts that they are ‘coming in’.
It is also noteworthy to mention that even if viewings go on as usual, homebuyers may put off signing on the dotted line to complete the purchase or might choose to pick an auspicious date during this time to finalize everything.
Those who want to start renovations as early as possible would definitely pick the latter, so they are able to avoid breaking the next ‘rule’.
One aspect immediately linked to renovation is definitely the noise that accompanies it. Even without the festival, the loud sounds of drilling, hammering and shifting of furniture can be enough to anger neighbors.
With that consideration in mind, many believe that renovation works done during the festival can 1. Disturb the rest of the spirits, thus angering them, or 2. Attract the attention of the spirits due to the loud noises, opening up the possibility of them staying even post-renovation.
However, if renovation works were put into motion before Ghost Month, it is perfectly fine to simply continue with revamping and not worry about breaking any ‘rules’. In fact, more and more superstitious people have warmed to the idea of renovating throughout the month and moving in after the festival is over.
Unfortunately, this also means that there are not many additional leeway you can take advantage of if you’re thinking that there will be less competition in engaging a design firm as the drop in clients is not significant.
Funnily enough, it appears that the main reason people used to avoid doing any renovation during the 7th Lunar Month, aka Ghost Month, was due to the significant change in temperature as mentioned in Way Fengshui.
Due to the heat, people in the past avoided doing any major activities so as to stay cool as well as avoid being swarmed by insects like mosquitoes and other bugs. The passage of time then found people correlating the two, resulting in the myth of avoiding renovation works during the Ghost Month.
For those who aren’t superstitious, this is actually a great month to get things going as by the time you are done renovating, the house will be ready for year-end festivities!
Similarly to the above point, one of the beliefs is that moving will disturb the energy of the space, as you are bringing in new furniture and occupants.
On the flip side, people also believe that the move can be seen as an invitation for unwanted spirits to step into and stay in our humble abode. Though this can be seen as just mere superstitions, it is generally a good idea to consult a Feng Shui Master to assuage any worries you might have.
You may be thinking, ‘well, as long as I’m staying home and not involved in any renovating or moving, I am safe!’, alas, there is also a list of myths revolving around what you should and should not do indoors during this month.
Living in Singapore = summer all year round, and many of us take advantage of nature’s dryer by hanging our laundry out during the day to get fresh and wonderful smelling clean clothes.
Whilst that is still permissible, it is highly inadvisable to let those clothes hang overnight. Some say that it attracts negative energy to your home due to the scent from burnt offerings sticking to your clothes, while others say spirits that share your fashion sense might grow attached to your clothing item and find ways to keep you from having it back.
This may sound funny to people who generally do not believe in the festival or any superstitions, but hey, better safe than sorry right?
Just like how umbrellas provide shelter for us outside whether it is a sunny or rainy day, the belief is that if you open that umbrella indoors, it serves as an invitation for spirits to take shelter underneath it and ultimately, in your own home.
The gentle, twinkling sound of windchimes not only sounds pleasant to us, but also to roaming spirits. Apparently, spirits are attracted to the sound as it bears a resemblance to the sounds from Chinese funeral prayers!
To err on the safe side, let those windchimes have a month's rest.
Are there any other superstitions you have heard of that you follow to a T? Or do you have any incidents where you accidentally ‘broke’ one of these ‘rules’ and had something bad happen to you?
Do remember, the above that we have shared are just some common myths that have been passed down from ancestors, and may not always ring true. Take everything with a pinch of salt, and move forward with what works best for you and your family.
Let us know some superstitions you have, and as always, hit us up with any home and property-related topics you would like us to cover next and share this article with a friend!