The Hungry Ghost Festival is just around the corner. And no, it’s not to celebrate you rummaging through your kitchen looking for snacks at 3am every other night.
During the 7th Month of every lunar calendar year, Buddhists and Taoists all over the globe believe that the gates of hell open, letting souls from the deceased who have either had violent or unhappy deaths, or been neglected by ancestors, roam free.
This means that if you’ve booked a trip for the month of August, the latest COVID-19 Variant isn’t the only invisible thing you should be wary of when travelling during this period.
Here are seven things to take note of when travelling during the Hungry Ghost Month.
Choose your Hotel Room Wisely
If you’re checking into a hotel, avoid the last room at the end of the corridor.
It is common hotel practice for staff to fill guests in rooms closest to the hotel lobby, for their own convenience as well as the hotel’s efficiency in providing room and housekeeping services.
This means that naturally, rooms at the end of the corridor are more vacant and thus are prone to having less Yang energy and inviting more Yin spirits. As a result, you might feel drained or uneasy.
But we know you need all the sleep you can get to film your 100 travel TikToks the next day to let your followers know you’re living it up somewhere outside of our tiny red dot.
So to play it safe, put in a request to shift from a corridor-end room if that’s where you are allocated.
Knock on the Door Before Entering
You probably recall your superstitious parents reminding you to do this when growing up, but in case you’ve forgotten, here’s a friendly reminder.
Before you enter the room of your hotel or Airbnb, you should either knock on the door three times, or ring the doorbell if there is one. This serves as a respectful way of letting any spirits know that you’re entering their space and will be borrowing it for the night.
Don’t Open All Cabinets and Closets at the Same Time
You might be scratching your heads and wondering who would be doing this anyway, and we’re none the wiser.
Maybe…if you’re a Karen who just wants to get down to unpacking everyone’s luggage upon arriving?
Or perhaps you’re intent on tripping up your travel companions on this makeshift obstacle course as a passive-aggressive way of letting them know they’ve been sleeping in too much while you’re on holiday.
Whichever it it is, we recommend you try not to open the cabinets and closets all at once upon entering the room, as this prevents you from potentially disturbing any spirits lingering in the room, while giving them a chance to adapt to your presence.
Don’t Sleep with a Mirror Opposite your Bed
We know you love checking yourself out. It’s why you secretly can’t help but wish that the front camera of your phone was the one with the better quality so that you can capture your glorious selfies in full HD.
Who needs to see a picture of Mona Lisa on Instagram when they can have a picture of Mona Lisa AND you?
But lest you want someone else to join you in admiring beautiful you in the comfort of your own room, it’s better to avoid positioning any mirrors in front of the bed you’ll be sleeping on. Fengshui practitioners suggest this because mirrors in bedrooms have the capacity to facilitate visits from spirits.
If you find that the mirror situated opposite you is unmovable, you could also use any spare towels and sheets to cover them. In any case, just make sure your reflection isn’t visible to you at any angle before going to sleep.
Besides, we don’t think the ghost would find your morning bedhead particularly attractive either.
Don’t Lean on Walls
“Act casual,” your friend says, as they point their phone camera at you while you’re standing in an extremely impractical, but highly Instagrammable outfit you bought specially for the trip.
Your awkwardly lean unto a wall, pose with your arms folded, and pretend to look away from the camera deep in thought like you’re on Asia’s Next Top Model, hoping to capture a “candid” OOTD photo.
Bonus points if that wall behind you is a little rustic and in a hipster neighbourhood area. Then you’ll be #cultured and #livinglikealocal.
However, you may want to skip this photo opp as hungry ghosts are said to stick onto walls or gather around empty spaces. It’s why some have reported their pets barking into thin air or at walls, especially during the 7th month.
Yeah…spooky. So if you want anything other than dirt lingering onto you after taking your #OOTD, it’s best to avoid random walls and alleyways for this period.
Don’t go Swimming. But if You Do, Make Sure It’s Before Sunset.
That was a damn good romance movie BTW: Before Sunset.
Okay, back to the topic of horror.
You should avoid swimming while abroad during the Hungry Ghost month as best you can because tradition states that evil spirits who might have previously died by drowning may pull you into the same demise, as doing so gives them a shot at rebirth.
And if we’ve learned anything from movies like Lights Out and Paranormal Activity, it’s that things get significantly sinister in the dark. It’s also the Chinese belief that ghosts harness Yin energy from the moon at night, which is why their presence may be stronger.
You might not know this, but increased psychic activity reports have been linked to the moon and lunar cycles in the West as well, so maybe it’s wiser not to take this shot in the dark this time round.
If you’re feeling the FOMO creeping in, just remember you can always swim when you come back to SG. We are an island, after all.
Don’t be a Cheapo and Book the Cheapest Transport Ticket at an Obscure Timing
We get it. You’re eyeing that $8 off-peak midnight train ticket that will take you between cities, which just seems like too good a deal to say no to.
You’ve already spent a great deal on souvenirs and so the budget traveller in you is willing to risk having an invisible companion beside you while you snore away into the night.
No, but seriously. If you’re a solo traveller you might want to fork out the extra few dollars to get a day ticket instead and commute with real people, because rumour has it that the last transport of the day is usually filled with ghost commuters who prey on lonely travellers.
Not quite the romantic train encounter you would be hoping to get from meeting your soulmate, huh?
To know what you should even do in Singapore during the Hungry Ghost Month, watch this to the end:
- Origins of Hungry Ghost Festival, Which Starts from 29 July 2022
- 10 Facts About Hungry Ghost Festival 2022 in Singapore
- There Will be a 24-Hour Causeway Link SG-JB Bus Service from 1 Aug 2022
Featured Image: Hit1912 / shutterstock.com
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