TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The gates to the underworld flung open on Sunday (Aug. 8), marking the start of Taiwan’s Ghost Month (鬼月), coinciding with Father’s Day and curiously falling on Aug. 8, or “double eight,” commonly considered an auspicious date.
According to traditional folk beliefs, hungry ghosts are released from their mysterious realm to wander among the land of the living in search of food for their departed souls, be it actual food, money, entertainment, love, or even living humans. "Good Brothers" and "Good Sisters" are considered "spiritually correct" terms for these lost souls, who may be offended by the slur "ghost."
Leading Taichung-based divination expert Yang Teng-ke (楊登嵙) has listed five clothing taboos one should observe to avoid being cloaked in darkness over the coming weeks, per UDN.
5. Do not wear single-colored outfits
Look in the mirror before walking out the front door and check you are not wearing just one color during Ghost Month. Be especially cautious of all black, all white, or all red outfits.
Black clothes generally attract the Brothers and Sisters and so should be avoided. White is traditionally worn at funerals, and wearing it may mislead ghosts to follow you in the hope of reuniting with other deceased souls. Wearing red will remind a deceased soul of its death, and may stir up strong emotions and lead them to attack you
If you cannot avoid wearing a single-colored, one-piece dress, be sure to mix it up by adding some colorful accessories.
4. Do not wear revealing clothes
Be sure to not show too much skin during Ghost Month as some “lecherous ghosts” may be easily aroused by your bod. Ladies that like to wear strapless outfits that expose their shoulders and neckline should take caution, as according to Buddhist belief, there are three spiritual flames that sit atop the head and each shoulder.
These salacious ghosts may try to trick your friend into extinguishing your flame by patting you on the shoulder, leaving an opening for the ghoul to slip in and possess you. Avoid wearing revealing clothes at night when the underworld visitors are highly active.
If for some reason revealing clothes must be worn on certain days, do not wear them around sites where the boundaries of the living and the dead are blurred (hospitals, funeral parlors, cemeteries, abattoirs, etc.)
3. Do not wear clothes with rips or holes
Check your clothes for holes and rips during Ghost Month, and even if your perforated garment is in style, avoid wearing it out on the street. The Good Brothers and Sisters will see you as a “poor ghost” and as one of their own, bringing you a lot of unwanted attention.
2. Do not wear a wedding dress or suit
Delay your wedding to avoid Ghost Month and do not try on your wedding dress or tux, for it will turn floating spirits into green-eyed monsters. Most Brothers and Sisters remain single and will bristle with jealousy at the sight of a charming couple decked out for their big day.
1. Do not let your hair down
Ghost Month is not usually a time to unwind too much, and certainly not to let one’s hair down. Hair should be kept well above waist level and ideally tied up or neatly groomed so as to avoid ghosts mistaking you for a fellow ghoul.
Take care when heading out on windy days so your hair does not fly around in all directions or cover your face. Sporting a head of ghastly bed hair like the girl from “The Ring” is bound to send the banshees gliding your way.