According to traditional beliefs, it is said that during the Chinese Lunar Seventh month, spirits from the afterlife will be able to return to the land of living for a month. During this month of the year which is commonly called as the Ghost festival or Hungry Ghost festival, Singapore families will prepare incense paper, food offerings and sacrifices laid out on table for passing ancestors and family members. At the same time, some families will also prepare offerings at the side of the road to appease these wondering spirits to feast on. It is one of the most respected Chinese events of the year, where offerings and incense paper are seen in almost every corner of Singapore. It is believed that the spirits revisit at this month of the year to feast and “enjoy”.
Another significant celebration will be these boisterous live stage performances called “GeTai”s; held at temples, common community areas and neighbourhood. These Getai will specially reserve the first few rows of seats for the spirits to appease them. At the same time, huge incense sticks will be burned to attract the spirits to come for their performance.
Businesses will also prepare offerings to the wondering spirits where no one prayed for in hoping that the spirits will be able to protect and bless their businesses and offices. Recent years, some office building in Singapore will arrange and conduct the praying and offering session with businesses as a group, usually on the second day of Ghost Festival month. The offerings can be from incense monies, feast of pork, chicken and fishes to hampers containing wide range of canned food items to drinks. Ritual will usually be held in the evening and the packaged and canned food will then be given to staffs or clients for prosperity for the rest of the year.
If you are wondering when to prepare and pray during the Ghost Festival Month in Singapore, here are the common four significant dates;
Significant dates of the 7th Lunar Month (Hungry Ghost Festival):
First day of the month (1st August 2019)
Gate of Netherworld opens after 12am and spirits revisit the land of living. Families start to prepare offerings and burn incense sticks and monies for their own ancestors, passed families and some will also prepare offerings for the wondering spirits. From today till the last day of the month, people are advised to not wonder outside in the night.
Second day of the month (2nd August 2019)
Businesses prepare offerings and pay respect to wondering spirits for safety and blessing.
Fifteenth day of the month (15th August 2019)
This is said to be the most important day of the Ghost festival in Singapore as offerings and prayers are most grand and extravagant. Whole roasted pigs, chickens, ducks and other food sacrifices will be laid out on table with incense sticks for the spirits to feast on. Traditionally believed, this is the day where all the spirits will be out of the Gate of Netherland and had gathered in the land of living. Longer rituals and prayers will be performed for the spirits to expiate their sins and thank for their blessings.
Last day of the month (29th August 2019)
Gate of Netherland will be closed, people will pray for the last time of the month for safety and blessings for the rest of the year.
There is no need to be afraid as it is believed that these wondering spirits are generally harmless if you respect them and do not disturb them. Here are some Dos and Don’ts to help you make it through the month.
1. Amulets and prayer beads
People are advised to carry amulets and prayer beads and eating certain foods to drive away negative energy.
It is traditionally believed that by burning incense sticks and paper offerings, ancestors and families in the afterlife will be able to enjoy them. These are usually burned on the first, second, fifteenth and last day of the Ghost Festival in Singapore. Other type of offerings can be food like whole roasted pig, chicken, fishes and canned food.
It is commonly believed in Singapore that even though the spirits are not returning to harm or cause disturbance to the livings, there is quite a handful of things to avoid in order to lower the chances of offending or showing disrespect to them. Here is a list of things gathered from editor’s hearsay from the older generations as well as from the internet. Well, better to safe than sorry I guess?
1. No signing of contracts, home improvements or any huge changes.
During the Ghost Festival Month in Singapore, people are advised to not make any major changes to their home. This includes moving of house, renovations and even major shifting of furniture. The major changes might disturb the residing spirits in the house. Signing of new contracts are not recommended as well, be it cars, new property or insurance. It is believed to bring you bad luck when possessing these assets bought during the 7th month.
2. No hanging of clothes outside overnight
It is advised not to hang washed clothes outside overnight as wondering spirits may posses on these clothes. Wash and hang your clothes during the day and collect them by evening. Afterall you should be drying your clothes under the sunlight and not moonlight right?
3. Refrain opening umbrellas inside home.
Spirits are said to seek shelter from the sun under umbrellas, especially the red ones. Therefore, opening umbrellas at home will attract and invite wondering spirits in your house to seek shelter.
4. Do not stick chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice.
Sticking chopsticks upright in bowl of rice are Chinese traditional way of offering food to the spirits during ritual and prayers. By doing this on your dinner table, it may seem like inviting spirits to dine with you.
5. Reserved front row seats at Getais
Singapore Chinese will entertain the wondering spirits through Getai held in communities and neighbourhoods, where artists will perform traditional Chinese and Dialect songs with extravaganza costumes. While the Getai performance may be captivating, do not sit on the front rows of the seats. It is reserved for the wondering sprits and people sitting on these reserved seats will have bad luck and even become ill.
6. Avoid swimming pools and seas
Rumors has it that some wondering spirits will prowl around swimming pools or beach, awaiting to drag unwary swimmers in the water to drown them in exchange for a chance to come back alive or reincarnation. The poor swimmer will be turned to drowned spirits and the vicious cycle will continue every seventh month of the lunar calendar.
Some swimmers did tell the story that they felt someone pulling their legs under water and managed to escape only when they shouted for help and someone managed to arrive in time to get them.
Going to the pool or beach for dating? Perhaps staying at home for Netflix will be a better choice this month.
7. Be kind to insects during Hungry Ghost Festival
Insects may not be the most welcomed guest in your house, but perhaps spare these small creatures during the Hungry Ghost Festival month as these small crawlies are believed to be spirits of your passed families that came back for a visit. They are mostly believed to be in forms of little winged bugs like moth. So, if you see any of these little insects flying in your house, just gently fan them away or simply leave them alone.
8. Red and Black alert on outfits
Spirits are believed to be attracted to red and black colors and people dressed in these colors are more likely to be possessed. People who like to dress in an all-black outfit, perhaps it’s a good excuse to go for shopping spree.
9. Leave offerings and sacrifices alone.
Food offerings, candles and incense paper may be scattering on the road side as these are prepared for the wondering spirits. Make sure to be cautious and avoid stepping or intentionally kick these items on the floor as it is disturbing and showing disrespect to the spirits. Apologize immediately if you have accidentally stepped on the offerings. After all, you do not want the spirits to seek revenge or follow you home don’t you?
10. Don’t pick up coins on the ground.
Don’t be tempted to pick up coins you see on the ground. These coins may be part of the praying rituals and offerings to the spirits and picking them up might offend the spirits since the coins are meant for them!
11. Don’t turn around if someone calls your name or pat you on the shoulder.
especially when you’re alone and it’s late at night, do not turn your head back if you hear your name being called by unfamiliar voice. It is said that the one calling might not be human and if you turned back, there is a chance that you will be possessed by the spirit. It is also believed that human had 3 protective flame, one on the forehead and two on each of the shoulder. The flames are supposed to protect and ward off bad luck as well as “evil” entities. If someone pats you on the shoulder or at the back, turn your entire body instead of head only. If not, you are only exposing one of the flame (on forehead) to the bad entity and exposed yourself to be vulnerable.
12. Keep selfies to a minimum as to avoid unexpected photo-bombers.
Cameras and photographs are said to be able to trap spirits and some spirits will reside in old photos. Therefore, there will be a higher chance of capturing ghostly or supernatural sights in your photographs. At the same time, do not snap pictures of offerings as it is rude, and you might just attract the unwelcomed guest following you home.
13. Do not walk or take pictures on group of three.
It is said that the one walking in the middle will become attract bad luck and attention of the spirits. He/she is more prone to be possessed and attract bad luck.
14. Don’t spout nonsense.
Everyone should adhere this even during other month of the year. You are advised not to spout nonsense or comment anything disrespectful. If you make jokes and wishes that you do not meant to, spirits might grant them true and you might have to sacrifice to return the favor.
15. Don’t go snooping around where you aren’t supposed to.
Do not visit dark or deserted places. Avoid the woods and jungle as well as it is believed that the tree shades the spirits from the sun. Well, if you do not want to meet the spirits, why even visit these creepy places? Also, avoid being out late at night and you are advised to get home before the sunset as spirits are believed to roam more freely when the sun is down.
That is an extensive list, aren’t they? Take everything with a pinch of salt and most importantly respect everyone’s beliefs and custom.
If you are an avid night run or cycler as you prefer the calmness and night breeze, why not consider getting a treadmill at home? Or if you are a white collar and can only exercise after work when the sun sets yet wish to stay fit, why not get a treadmill to meet your basic exercise need?
Check out our latest ACE Series Treadmill with shock absorber embedded in the running platforms, wide running area and sleek design. Let our ACE Series Treadmill be part of your home and do not worry about being out late at night during this Ghost festival Month.
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One of Twin H’s hit model is the ACE 801 which comes with 10.1 inch LCD multimedia touch screen. ACE 801 allows user to connect to WIFI or Bluetooth, access to their favourite websites. At the same time, the built in USB port and AUX port allows users to access to videos and music without connecting to internet.
Interested parties are welcome to walk in to our showroom to try out the demo sets.
To purchase or know more;
Showroom: 1, Yishun Industrial Street 1 A’Posh Bizhub #03-07 Singapore 768160
Operating Hours: 12pm to 7pm daily, closed on Wednesday and Saturday