TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Now that Ghost Month (鬼月) is has been underway for a couple days now, it is time to become versed in some of the other taboos major observed by many Taiwanese during this period.
Taiwan's Ghost Month, observed in the 7th month of the lunar calendar, which this year runs from Aug. 11 to Sept. 9, is when Taoists and Buddhists believe that the gates of hell are opened for "hungry ghosts" to roam the world of the living in search of food, money, entertainment, and possibly souls. A "hungry ghost" is a being that has been sent to the underworld to suffer an eternal state of hunger for their misdeeds or for not having a proper burial.
Last week, Taiwan News created a list of the top 10 most serious taboos to avoid, but because there are so many taboos associated with Ghost Month, the following are 10 additional ghoulish gaffes to watch out for:
10. Do not celebrate birthday at midnight
Midnight is believed the time when yin energy forces are the greatest, thus the moment the birthday candles are blown out, could be when a ghost appears.
9. Avoid taking photos in dark corners
Avoid taking photos or videos in dark corners, especially at night, otherwise a phantom photobomb might ruin the picture.
8. Avoid unnecessary trips to hospital, or operations
The hospital is a place where yin and yang energies are exchanged and is an easy gathering place for "good brothers” (the polite term for ghosts).
7. Do not hang wind chimes
The ringing of wind chimes sounds similar to the ringing of the soul, therefore it is believed they attract ghosts.
6. Do not let hair become unkempt
If a person lets their hair become scraggly and unkempt, ghosts may think they are seeing one of their own.
On the other hand, it is advised not to comb or brush one's hair at the stroke of midnight while looking in the mirror as some spectral spectators might show up in the background.
5. Do not watch too many scary films
Watching too many scary movies can weaken one's yang energy, thus opening the door to yin forces.
4. Do not pee on a tree
Urinating on a tree is thought to anger tree spirits, which will seek vengeance upon the person who does the peeing.
3. Do not open umbrellas indoors
Umbrellas are believed to draw in yin energy and spirits tend to hide under umbrellas for protection from the sun. Also, the Chinese word for (傘, san) is a homophone with the word for scatter (散, san), which could signify scattering one's wealth and family.
2. Do not kill rare insects in seen in the home
It is believed that lost loved ones may come back to visit in the form of an insect during this period, so it is best not to squash that strange bug crawling on the living room furniture.
1. Do not get married
It is feared that couples who get married during this period will be cursed by evil spirits, or at the very least have uninvited ghoulish guests crash their wedding party.