The top 10 'taboos' to avoid during Ghost Month in Taiwan
From the China Post
The Chinese Ghost Month (鬼月), observed奉行 in the seventh month of the lunar calendar, is once again upon us, this year running from Aug. 14 to Sept. 12. During the festival the gates of hell are opened鬼門開 and all of the hungry ghosts 餓鬼are released to the world 尋找food, money, entertainment, and what not.等等(意指同類的事物)
A "hungry ghost" is a being that has been sent to the underworld to suffer an eternal state of hunger 餓鬼道(無時間覺，也就是永恆的) for their misdeeds壞事 or for not having a proper burial沒有被好好埋葬. Once a year, they are set free from hell and are given the opportunity to satiate some of their cravings滿足一些渴望 and perhaps gain some good karma 累積福報for a reincarnation投胎轉世 into a better life with the help of their family members.
Whether you believe in ghosts or not, the following are some handy tips to avoid any phantom faux pas 失禮處(不該做的禁忌)during Ghost Month:
1. Don't go swimming:
This restriction seems to have the widest consensus 最多人同意among those who observe Ghost Month. It is considered highly dangerous to go swimming because it is believed that evil spirits that had drowned may try to drown the swimmer to gain a chance at rebirth.之前溺死的鬼魂會找替身好投胎 The upside 好處 for non-believers is that the beaches are pretty much empty for the whole month.
1. Don't go out alone at night:
Young children and young adults in particular should avoid going out alone after dark as it is believed that wandering ghosts 遊魂can more easily possess the young.
3. Don't whistle, especially after dark:天黑後不吹口哨
Whistling吹口哨 is thought to attract evil spirits引來惡鬼 and once they've been lured in一旦他們(惡鬼)被吸引來, they may follow the person around for long periods of time, bringing ill fortune.招來厄運
4. Don't sit in the front row of Gezaixi shows:
This is probably one of the biggest pitfalls陷阱/危險 for during month. Beware that the front row前排 of Gezaixi (Taiwanese opera) shows performed on the streets should be avoided at all costs because it is strictly reserved for spectral spectators only給鬼魂預留的席次.
5. Don't pick up money on the street:
People are admonished 警告/告誡not to pick up real money or take it home because it will bring them bad luck. Picking up a hell bank note (joss paper) 紙錢 is considered an insult to the spirits and a bad omen 兇兆as well.
6. Don't turn your head around if someone pats you on the shoulder:
活人的肩膀上有兩把保護火If a ghost pats you on the back and you only turn your head, you'll snuff out 熄滅that protective flame, thus making you vulnerable. 容易受傷To avoid this, turn the whole body 轉身at once instead of just the head不要轉頭.
7. Do not kill rare insects in your house:
Some believe that their ancestors come to visit their relatives in the reincarnated form of a rare insect. 因為這些蟲可能是祖先投胎來看我們的The definition of "rare" is debatable, but basically a type of insect that has rarely if ever been spotted in your house before such as butterflies蝴蝶, grasshoppers蚱蜢 or moths蛾, and for their part, roaches are probably not considered "rare."
8. Don't hang clothes outside to dry:
The thinking with this is that devious spirits 惡靈will wear your clothes as a way to sneak into your house. 會透過附身在衣服上進到你家
9. Don't lean against the wall:
Ghosts apparently like to stick on walls because they're cooler, so don't push your luck and lean against them during the month.
10. Don't pee on a tree:
Apparently, soldiers in the field know well that urinating 尿尿on a tree could anger tree spirits which will seek vengeance upon you.找你報仇