How To Protect Your Home From Supernatural Entities This Hungry Ghost Festival

10 August 2022 | BY

If every hungry ghost festival gives you the creeps, here are some tips to safeguard your home this seventh month.

It’s that time of the year again: the seventh month. The gates of hell are open, which means getai performances, offerings aplenty, and of course, countless rituals to protect ourselves from these freshly released spirits. 

To keep your home protected from supernatural entities, here are 9 things you can do to make sure your home stays free of any unwanted guests.

1. Don’t kill the insects you see flying around

Growing up, you probably remember being told by your parents that the moths you would see during the seventh month were just deceased relatives. No matter how quick they would usually be to whack any moth that dared to enter the family’s airspace, they’d hold back during this special month. Now that you have your own home, you’ll want to do the same. 

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Traditional Chinese belief holds that the seventh month is when the gates of hell open, releasing the dead from the afterlife. During this time, many spirits come back in the form of moths and other insects. Killing these insects would be equivalent to harming the spirits, and is considered inauspicious. The next time a moth flutters its way into your home, you’d be better off leaving it.

2. Take down any wind chimes

If you’ve ever attended a Taoist funeral, you’ll know that bells and chanting form a big part of the procession. Something that sounds a lot like these prayer bells? Wind chimes. 

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The loud ringing of the bells are believed to help guide spirits into the afterlife, so unless you want these spirits to think you’re calling out to them, it’s best not to hang any wind chimes around the house.

3. Leave any major renovations till next month

Arguably what makes a house a home, renovations are a great way for homeowners to inject a little personality into their new abode. As tempting as it may be to turn that spare utility room into a study though, you may want to put it off for the month. Because of the noise and commotion they create, renovations are believed to attract spirits. 

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Moving furniture around to accommodate these renovations can also interfere with Feng Shui, by creating negative energy within the home. If you must renovate, you’ll want to ensure all work is done before sunset, though you should do that anyway – after all, the only thing scarier than an angry spirit is an angry neighbour.

4. Keep all offerings outside the home

Even if you’re not the most observant, you’ve probably noticed that while plenty of offerings line sidewalks and outdoor common areas, they’re never kept inside the home. More than being a fire hazard, there is a reason for this – offerings are, well, meant to be offered to spirits. 

seventh monthImage credit: cheesindavecanon

Spirits seek out and feed on these offerings, so if any offerings get in the house, you may as well hang a “ghosts welcome here” sign by the front door. There is an exception to the rule though: altars that are meant to pay respects to deceased ancestors are a-ok.

If you want to make it extra clear that your home is for live occupants only, you can light a red lantern and place it on a windowsill or balcony to keep any stray spirits from wandering in. 

5. Sprinkle a line of salt at all entrances of the home

Salt may be great at keeping bland food from reaching the dining table, but during the seventh month, it also does an excellent job at keeping spirits from reaching your home. According to Chinese folklore, sprinkling salt along the points of entry to a home creates a barrier to all unwanted spirits.

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You’ll want to salt not only your doorstep, but also any windows that you may leave open during the day. 

6. Don’t leave your clothes out to dry at night

If you’ve ever been startled by laundry hanging outside at night, you’ll know that clothes can look a lot like ghosts, especially once it’s dark out. Spirits see it this way too. 

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These clothes that look hauntingly similar to ghostly apparitions attract spirits who will try to fill them and then enter you when you get dressed and put them on. You’d be better off tossing them in the dryer, though you may be equally startled when you receive your electricity bill for the month.

7. Keep your doors closed

Just as you would leave your door open for guests during a housewarming party, leaving your doors open during the seventh month is an invitation for spirits and other supernatural entities to enter. 

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Heck, you may as well set out some refreshments while you’re at it. To stay safe, just keep the doors closed. And lock them too – not just to keep ghosts out, but burglars too.

8. Don’t sing or play instruments at night

Chinese folklore holds that ghosts and spirits are the most active and powerful at night. This is why getai shows are held at night – to keep these spirits entertained so they won’t need to find other ways to occupy themselves. 

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Because spirits travel toward music and other loud noises, playing instruments, singing, or even humming may result in quite a few unexpected audience members attending. So, unless you’re thinking of throwing a getai show of your own, you’ll want to leave the performing to the professionals.

9. Don’t open umbrellas in the home

This last one might be hard considering we’re in the thick of monsoon season, but the next time you come home with a wet umbrella, you’ll want to shake off the water and close it before entering your home. 

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Spirits see umbrellas as shelter, and will take an open umbrella as an invitation to take shelter within your home. I think you’ll find that getting a little wet in this case seems a far more appealing option.

Hungry ghost festival home tips

And there you have it – 9 tips that you can use to keep yourself safe during the seventh month. You may have grown up thinking your parents were overreacting as usual, but now that you live in your own home, chances are you understand that it’s better to be safe to have to share your home with spirits.

More tips for homeowners:

Cover image adapted from: Unsplash, cheesindavecanon, Unsplash

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