Hungry Ghost Festival – things to avoid

Hi Singapore backpackers!

The month of the Hungry Ghost Festival is believed to be the most inauspicious month of the year. As hell’s gates open and spirits come out to wander among the living, malevolent spirits hunt for substitutes to take their places in hell. To avoid offending the spirits or the people who believe in them (you don’t know for sure which one is scarier), we’ve compiled a list of things to take note of:

1. Watch your step
Be careful not to kick or step on any paper, joss sticks or food offerings left by the roadside. These are not discarded items! They have been deliberately left there to appease the wandering ghosts.

2. You are not a VIP
You will probably come across loud performances called getai that are free for the public to view. The front row of seats will be empty, but it doesn’t mean that they’re available for seating. Although you can’t see them, there are actually spirits sitting there. If you unwittingly sit on one of them, they might get angry and bring you bad luck.

3. Watch your laundry
After sunset, do not hang your laundry out to air. Also, take note not to lay your clothes out flat. Spirits might be mistaken and think that your clothes are offerings for them. You do not want to be sharing clothes with dead people, do you?

4. Avoid staying out late at night
If you want to avoid bumping into ghosts, go home before midnight. The last thing you want to do when you’re stumbling around half-drunk is to accidentally kick a pile of offerings.

5. Stay on land
Water spirits lurk in swimming pools during the 7th month. It is not advisable to go swimming, lest some playful ghost decides to pull you underwater and drown you. If you need exercise, opt for land sports.

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Your Singapore Guide


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