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25 things NOT to do during Hungry Ghost Festival by @EricPesik


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Every year, usually in August, the Chinese in Singapore observe a large-scale tradition of paying respects to the dead. During this month, the "Gates of Hell” are opened and souls of the dead are freed and allowed to roam the earth where they seek food and entertainment.

The 7th month of the Chinese lunar calendar is regarded as the Ghost Month. The 15th day of Ghost Month is Ghost Day, and the Ghost Festival is held the night before - on the evening of the 14th day.

The activities throughout the month include preparing ritualistic food offerings, such as Mandarin oranges, roasted suckling pig, bowls of rice, and local Chinese cake made especially for the occasion. They also burn incense and joss paper to pay respect to the deceased. The festival is so widely-practiced in Singapore that special bins are set up in neighborhoods for believers to burn their joss paper. Small altars can also be seen outside many homes, both on private property and in public housing areas.

On Ghost Day in Singapore and Malaysia, singers and dancers hold concert-like performances known as Getai on temporary stages set up in a residential districts. Everyone is welcome to watch the show as long as you don’t sit at the front row, which is reserved for the spirits.

If you want to experience Ghost Festival without insulting the spirits, this presentation compiles a collection of taboos - 25 things NOT to do during Hungry Ghost Festival.

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25 things NOT to do during Hungry Ghost Festival by @EricPesik

  1. 1. Image Credit: Hungry Ghost Festival by Benoxi NOT to do during 25 things Hungry Ghost Festival
  2. 2. Image Credit: Best Satay in Singapore by 1 Do not stay out late. Spirits may follow you home.
  3. 3. Image Credit: Ghost Month Offerings by Brian Jeffery Beggerly 2 Do not step on or kick offering items or joss sticks along the roadside.
  4. 4. Image Credit: Diaphanous veils by Zoetnet 3 It is inauspicious to marry during Ghost Month. Do not get married.
  5. 5. Image Credit: Windy Days by Kent Nguyen 4 Do not cover your forehead. Pin up your hair as high as possible.
  6. 6. Image Credit: Small Offerings by Miss Bossy 5Do not make jokes or complain about any altar or offering items along the street.
  7. 7. Image Credit: Fear by Nathan O'Nions 6 Do not take photographs in the evening. Having your picture taken with a sprit is inauspicious.
  8. 8. Image Credit: Tea Candle in the Dark by Markus Grossalber 7 Do not stare into candlelight or burning fire.
  9. 9. Image Credit: Young woman with dyed hair provided by Microsoft partner Fotolia| Used with permission from Microsoft 8 Do not shift your eyes if you feel something. Look straight ahead and walk calmly to your destination.
  10. 10. Image Credit: Red Umbrella by Liz West 9 Do not open your umbrella at night - especially a red umbrella.
  11. 11. Image Credit: Red Dress by Ed Frazier 10 Do not wear red clothing or high heels and walk alone at night.
  12. 12. Image Credit: The drying clothes by Pedro Ribeiro Simoes 11 Do not hang out wet clothes in the middle of the night.
  13. 13. Image Credit: What happened here by Blondin Rikard 12Do not pick up any strange items found on the street.
  14. 14. Image Credit: Bus stop at night by Thskyt 13 Do not wait at a bus stop after midnight, especially after bus service hours.
  15. 15. Image Credit: Tree at Night by Kyrre Gjerstad 14 Do not stand under a tree in the middle of the night.
  16. 16. Image Credit: Whistling in Dark by David Goehring 15 Do not whistle alone at night. You may find someone singing along with you.
  17. 17. Image Credit: Moody Street by George Alexander Ishida 16Do not walk in the dark, near walls. Something may be appear in your side view.
  18. 18. Image Credit: Surprised by Phlubdr 17Do not turn your head if someone taps you on your shoulder or calls you from behind.
  19. 19. Image Credit: Midnight Sky Manicure by Ashley MacKinnon 18 Do not use black or dark colour manicure.
  20. 20. Image Credit: John combing his hair by Anthony Easton 19 Do not comb your hair in front of the mirror in the middle of the night
  21. 21. Image Credit: Please by Alyssa L Miller 20Do not scream in the middle of the night. Stay as quiet as possible if you feel sudden coldness.
  22. 22. Image Credit: Single Tear Emotion by LMAP Megyarsh 21 Do not get emotional and cry in the middle of the night.
  23. 23. Image Credit: Perchloroethylene by Emergency Brake (Evil Erin) 22Do not be too curious. Ignore strange sounds, especially soft whispering voices.
  24. 24. Image Credit: Red umbrella by Tatters Do not enter a cemetery area or abandoned house.23
  25. 25. Image Credit: Night Swimming Pool by Jacopo Do not swim in the middle of the night. Something may be waiting to pull your legs. 24
  26. 26. Image Credit: Usually there-s room for two by Christi Breban Do not play at the playground in the middle of the night, especially on the swings. 25
  27. 27. About the Author Eric Pesik • I am an American citizen living of Singapore, where I first learned about the Ghost Festival. This presentation was written after learning about Singapore culture and reading about Ghost Month taboos. This is visual lesson about how to behave - what to do and not to do - during Ghost Month. • My recent professional presentations are also available online at: Creative Commons License • You are free to share, copy, distribute, and transmit this work; to remix or adapt this work; and to make commercial use of this work, under the condition that you must attribute this work to me - but not in any way that suggests that I endorse you or your use of this work. Each slide contains source attributions and URL; before reusing, you must obtain the original images from the original sources, and you must comply with any applicable license restrictions imposed by the original sources. • See
  28. 28. Credits & Acknowledgements Images • Flickr Creative Commons: Images from Flickr Creative Commons are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution license. Some rights reserved. See • Microsoft Office Online: Images from Microsoft Office Online are used with permission from Microsoft; no rights to further license or distribute the media elements. See Content: • Do’s and Don’ts during the Hungry Ghost month: • Chinese Ghost Month Taboo: • 30 Things You Should Not Do During Hungry Ghost Festival: • Do's and Don'ts - Hungry Ghost Festival and.html
  29. 29. Image Credit: Hungry Ghost Festival by Benoxi NOT to do during 25 things Hungry Ghost Festival