Be Warned: 9 Pantang Things You Shouldn’t Be Doing During The Seventh Month

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Be Warned: 9 Pantang Things To Avoid Doing During The Seventh Month

STORY: Pearlyn Tham
15 August 2019
Hungry Ghost Month altar
PHOTO: NICK CHEE

If you are reading this, chances are you are already a very pantang person. Which means that when Hungry Ghost Festival comes around every year, you already know what to do and what not to do.

For example, you know not to step on discarded hell money: if the wind has scattered them into your path, you deploy your best Pepsi, Cola 1,2,3 footwork to avoid them. You also know that the front row seats at getai performances are reserved for VIPs (read: Very Important Phantoms), and not for your VIP status at Marquee Nightclub.

But here are some rare taboos that even you may not know about. You can thank us after August.

1. Do not cover your forehead

It’s where your human energy emanates most strongly, all the better to fend off netherworld forces. Wear a hairband and don’t keep bangs.

2. Do not stay out late at night ­– for work or leisure

Us hoomans are weaker at night (unless when we are binge-watching Netflix) and can’t fight off spiritual beings. After knowing my BFF for close to 30 years, she finally tells me this year that she can’t make dinner plans with me because “it’s that time of the year” and she doesn’t fancy hanging out after sunset. This also makes a good excuse when your boss asks you to do OT or when that spooky Tinder date wants to meet you for after-work drinks.

3. Do not go home at 4am

Once, when we were hanging out after midnight during the Hungry Ghost Festival, one of my friends said that she had to either be home way before 4am or way after that. The reason: her mum believes that spirits return home at 4am and if they see you around on the streets, they may want to take you back with them. And you thought that it was troublesome enough dodging ERP peak hours and Grab surge periods.

4. Do not snap photos at night

A ghostly presence may photobomb your pic. Well, natural daylight makes your selfies look more flattering anyway. 

Hungry Ghost Month altar
PHOTO: NICK CHEE

5. Do not wear black nail polish

Apparently, other-worldly beings have black nails (and not because they all got their hands on Chanel Le Vernis in Pure Black). If they see your inky talons, they will think you are one of them and will take you home.

6. Do not lean on walls

Ghosts like to lean on these as they feel colder to the touch. So you don’t want to fight with them for their priority seats (or walls) during this special month of the year.

7. Don’t turn your head around

There’s a common Seventh Month belief that you shouldn’t turn around if you hear someone calling your name at night (that includes your pesky colleague who’s also working the OT shift and who wants a lift home). The truth: you can turn around but just make sure you turn your whole body at once. If you turn just your head, you snuff out the invisible “flames” on your shoulders that protect you from scary things.

8. Do not open an umbrella at home

Especially a red one. Because spirits like to take shelter under umbrellas too. Altogether now… Under my umbrella, ella, ella, eh, eh, eh.

9. Do not leave laundry out after dark

Not because your upstairs neighbour will be flicking cigarette ash on your clothes. Ghosts like to slip into human clothing at night. Guess brands like Gui-cci and Espirit will be in high demand during this season.

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TAGS: Festivals
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