August has a manifold significance: Buwan ng Wika for the general Filipino, a bottle of wine sipping away for Taylor Swift stans, and a month-long notice for Jose Mari Chan memelords. For some, more hauntingly, it's also the Ghost Month.
Ghost Month, a Chinese tradition that has Taoist and Buddhist roots, falls on the seventh month of the lunar calendar, which varies annually. This 2023, it's from Aug. 16 to Sept. 14.
During the period, it is said that the gates of hell open, and hungry spirits are out to wreak havoc here on earth and bring misfortune to the living.
Whether one doesn't believe in ghosts, it's better to be safe than sorry. As the Filipino expression goes, "Wala namang mawawala."
Households may observe several practices to appease the spirits, repel misfortune, and attract positive energy in general, according to feng shui expert Hanz Cua.
Cua told PhilSTAR L!fe that households should keep their windows open to draw in more sunlight. Aside from lighting up parts of the house that are especially dark, which is the hotbed of ghosts, they should also make sure to clean and declutter.
Bright and "happy" colors like red are also more than welcome in the house, whether through the curtains or one's clothing.
Cua also advised repelling ghosts via noise. One may open their television or radio, if not strike bells if available.
Putting salt in the corners and openings of the home may also keep the bad spirits away, as well as light incense sticks. In particular, Cua urged households to light nine sticks at 9:00 a.m., as the number represents completeness and eternity in Chinese.
Above all, it's also important that family members avoid disagreements, as the negative energies attract ghosts.
In terms of offering food items to the dead, Cua said chicken, pork, or fish are good since hungry ghosts prefer meat. It must also be paired with rice to sate their hunger.
Raw eggs also make them happy, according to the feng shui master.
When it comes to fruits, papaya, watermelon, mango, or other sweet appeal to the ghosts. One, however, must avoid bananas, longan, lychee, and grapes, as they come in clusters. This, according to Cua, suggests multiple deaths and could be a bad omen.
The go-to drinks of ghosts include juice, water, or beer, according to Cua.
Since offerings also normally come with candles, Cua said there are important colors to follow. White goes to anyone who's dead for a year, yellow if more than that but less than three years, and red if dead for over three years. (with reports from Brooke Villanueva)