The Hungry Ghost Festival: A Time of Connection and Reflection

Posted on August 05, 2023 by Derelle Ball

The Hungry Ghost Festival is a cherished and meaningful time, filled with tradition, reunion, and remembrance. It builds a symbolic bridge between the living and the deceased, offering us a chance to honour those who came before us and strengthen our connection with them.

A blend of ancient Chinese religious and philosophical traditions shape the Hungry Ghost Festival. It intertwines the wisdom of Taoism with the spiritual teachings of Buddhism.

The Hungry Ghost Festival is a special occasion that takes place during the seventh month of the Chinese lunar calendar, a period known as the Ghost Month. During this month, the gates of the spiritual realm are said to open wide, releasing restless and hungry spirits to visit our world.

The Hungry Ghost Festival itself is typically celebrated on the 15th day of the lunar month, and this year's Hungry Ghost Festival occurs on August 30, (a Geng Shen/Metal Monkey Day).

The Hungry Ghost Festival is an expression of respect, reconnection and compassion. It aims to:

  • Honour and Acknowledge: The festival pays homage to hungry ghosts who have been released during Ghost Month, especially those who died due to misfortune.
  • Satisfy and Pacify: Through various rituals and offerings, the living seek to comfort and satisfy these wandering spirits, ensuring peace in the home and community.

The Hungry Ghost Festival is marked by several traditional and heart-felt practices:

  • Feed the Hungry Ghosts: Offerings of food are prepared to keep the ghosts content. Burning incense and making symbolic food offerings help maintain harmony. 
  • Honour Loved Ones and Ancestors: Spend time reminiscing and sharing treasured memories of your loved ones and ancestors.
  • Burn Offerings: Sage, sandalwood or bay leaves can be burnt to cleanse and connect with the spiritual realm while focusing thoughts on love, forgiveness, and cherished memories with those from the past.
  • Attend Performances: Embrace the senses with cultural experiences and the arts and keep your loved ones in your heart as you enjoy beautiful, uplifting experiences.
  • Sail Lantern Boats: Send a letter to your lost loved ones on a paper boat, using eco-friendly materials.

During this sacred time, certain taboos should also be observed to avoid attracting excessive Yin Qi and unwanted spiritual attention:

Avoid Staying Out Late: Ghosts are more active at night.

Respect Offerings: Don't take what's meant for others.

Mind Your Clothing: Hanging clothes outside overnight can attract strong yin energy.

Be Careful with Water: Avoid swimming after dark or in deep, dark waters.

Postpone Major Life Events: Wait for a more auspicious time. 

In the world of Feng Shui, the Hungry Ghost Festival brings attention to specific energy flows and spiritual connections. Certain locations, such as churches and temples, harbour energy that connects more fully with Yin Qi and spiritual influence according to the specific orientation and surrounding landform in which they were constructed.

Moreover, some homes may contain energy patterns that link the earthly and spiritual realms. For example, the East sector of a home facing Zi/N2 with an inherent 5 6 2 energy flow might need careful handling as the veil between the living and the spirit world will be quite fine in this location. Decorating the East sector of that home with protective metal element, cool tones and maintaining open internal energy pathways to the ruling Water Star Qi (depending on the current Time Period) can help keep the energy calm and less likely to stir up ghostly occurrences.

Another way to help calm the East sector of the above-mentioned home and simultaneously invite positive new, vibrant energy into the dwelling is by conducting a Sun Ceremony or space clearing during specific periods of time each year that connect this home with strong, vibrant, yang/active Qi.  In this case, the time frames would be: January 21 - February 3, May 22 - June 5, and September 24 - October 8 when a Sun Ceremony, space clearing and/or a fun, noisy social event held at the home can uplift and revitalize the energy for the benefit of the home’s occupants.

The Hungry Ghost Festival offers a beautiful opportunity to reflect, remember, and reconnect. It invites us to embrace the teachings of both Taoism and Buddhism, forging a deeper understanding of life, death, and the eternal bonds that connect us all. 

Australian Feng Shui Master Consultant, Derelle Ball can help you enhance the health, wealth and nurturing Feng Shui potential of your home with a detailed user-friendly Feng Shui Report.  For further information visit: Off-Site Residential Feng Shui Consultation.  

Posted in Hungry Ghost Festival


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