Why Pinoy Capitalists Get Wary Of Deals During ‘Ghost Month’

Hungry Ghosts Scroll Source: WikiMedia Commons

This year, Ghost Month actually starts today, July 29, and ends August 26.

By Luchie Aclan Arguelles

A stark misconception is that each year the Ghost Month starts exactly on August 1 and lasts for about 30 days.

In the Chinese calendar, the start of the seventh month this year is July 29 and, therefore, the start of the Ghost month, through August 26. Last year, the period covered was from August 8 to September 6.

This is just among the many Chinese cultural traditions that even Filipinos observe. Others are the Lunar New Year, Feng Shui and Mooncake Festival.

From centuries back, the customs are deeply embedded, heavily influenced by the significant Chinese population in the country. Their festivals, with all its clatter and pomp, had been popularly celebrated since 1594 when the first Chinatown was established in the Philippines.

Ever wondered why Filipino business owners are wary of trading or transacting during the Ghost Month?

Hungry Ghosts Scroll
Source: WikiMedia Commons

Why ‘Ghost’ Month

Today is the start of the 7th lunar month among the Chinese.

Majority of Filipino businessmen believe the luck has something to do with their success. The Chinese strongly believe in luck just like many Filipino entrepreneurs. The number “7” has something to do with it.

Traditionally, this number represents a combination of Yin and Yang and the five elements that influence humans — Earth, Fire, Metal, Wood, and Water. But also, “7”, in Chinese is “qi” or “vital energy”. In the same breath, in their language, this number could also sound like “cheat”.

Calling the 7th month “Ghost Month” stems from the belief that this is the time restless spirit of their departed ancestors come out of the “lower realm” to visit the earth. Certain spirits are assumed to be omens or purveyors of doom.


Hungry Ghosts

Feng Shui doyen, Master Hanz Cua, in an interview was quoted as saying that this is the time when hell opens its gates and hungry ghosts come out hunting for food. They could also seek entertainment by tormenting humans, effecting pain, suffering or even death.

Cua even mentioned certain tragedies that befell during the Ghost Month are: the Plaza Miranda bombing in 1971; assassination of Ninoy Aquino in 1983; demise of Cory Aquino and Typhoon Ondoy in 2009, and 9-11 terror attack in the Twin Towers of New York City, among others.


Exercise Caution

Filipino businessmen become extra cautious in launching new projects and signing of contracts. For them, better safe than sorry.

Ordinary folk shun travel, marriage and major surgeries.

But if any of these could not be avoided, feng shui experts advise: burning of paper money for luck; sprinkling salt and making food offering of pork, chicken and fruits ouside doors and windows; lighting red candles and offering prayers to the dearly departed, and displaying lucky charms and figurines.

These hungry spirits are believed to hate being ignored.

Wearing the lucky color red is deemed to have a neutral effect, keeping homes well lighted and playing lively music distract ghosts.

Most attractive to hungry ghosts are children and the aging citizens. They are advised to be extra careful and to avoid going out late at night.

For those who are skeptical in the “existence” of wandering ghosts at this time, exercising caution won’t hurt.


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