History of Seventh Month

When is seventh month? When does seventh month end? These are two of main questions Stones Journey and Google get asked.

We all know when it’s seventh month because suddenly you start to see a lot of offerings being burned, especially by those construction companies and night clubs. As you walk through the street you spend your time playing dodge the offering pile. Also you will be asked to not go out late by aunties and uncles. 

But what is it all about??? Well... we can explain.

In the Chinese lunar calendar, the seventh month is known as the Ghost month, where it is believed that the gates to the underworld (Hell) open, and all ghosts and spirits are released, free to wander among humans. These ghosts are deemed to be hungry, because of the belief that hell has little to no food. 

Legends

There are many legends surrounding this time of year. One of the most popular legends regarding the origin of the hungry ghosts is the legend of Mu Lian.

According to legend, Mu Lian, a disciple of Buddha, tried to save his mother from torture in hell. His mother, who was a vegetarian, had consumed meat soup unknowingly, and was condemned to hell for denying it. Mu Lian tried to locate his deceased mother in the netherworld and found her among the hungry ghosts. In one version of the story, Mu Lian tried to feed his starving mother, but the food was grabbed by other hungry ghosts. In another version, he sent her a bowl of rice as an offering, but the food turned into flaming coals before it could enter her mouth. Mu Lian sought help from Buddha, who intervened and taught Mu Lian to make offerings of special prayers and food. Only then was Mu Lian’s mother relieved of her suffering as a hungry ghost.

Rituals

To tackle grief, loss and to commemorate the loving memory of our relatives there are many rituals and important traditions honoured by those who wish to be protected from the spirits. On the first day of the month, people burn special ritual paper money outside their homes or businesses, along the sides of roads, or in fields. Sometimes, they go to temples for this task. People also burn paper clothes, cars or even houses, as a way to transfer these materials to the spirits. People also light incense and may make sacrifices of food to worship the hungry unhappy ghosts. People trust that the ghosts won't do something terrible to them or curse them after eating their sacrifices and while holding their money. They put up red painted paper lanterns everywhere including business and residential areas.

Other popular warnings include 

  • no swimming, 
  • no talking to yourself (spirits might think you’re talking to them), 
  • no killing of any insects (might be your ancestors coming back to visit you), 
  • no whistling, 
  • no wearing of red (spirits are attracted to that colour) 
  • and very importantly, no stepping on food offerings. 

During this month, community performances are often organised to entertain the spirits. The front row seats of these performances are always left empty for the VIP ghosts, so be sure not to sit there!

If you’re concerned about getting enough protection from these spirits, you can use our protection kit. As always, feel free to reach out should you have other queries or worries!

URLS

https://www.chinahighlights.com/festivals/hungry-ghost-festival.htm

https://www.cbc.ca/kidscbc2/the-feed/have-you-heard-of-the-hungry-ghost-festival

https://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/infopedia/articles/SIP_758_2004-12-16.html

https://theculturetrip.com/asia/singapore/articles/a-history-of-the-hungry-ghost-festival-in-one-minute/