The Southeast Asian Chinese are pretty superstitious. From avoiding the number “4” (which sounds like the Chinese word for “death”) and lauding the number “8” (a homophone of the Chinese word for “prosper”), to a host of other things they have to look out for during different festive seasons or observances, they tend to adhere to these practices even if they don’t quite buy or understand them.
Especially when it comes to the Lunar Seventh Month, better known as the Chinese Hungry Ghost Festival. That’s when their level of superstition skyrockets to a mildly paranoid level.
During Hungry Ghost Month, it is believed the gates of the underworld open to release all the spirits of the dead, much like a holiday month for them, where they are free to roam the earth. Unlike Halloween though, celebrated with trick-or-treats, the Hungry Ghost Festival is regarded with much reverence —and a healthy dose of fear — as they observe some eerie superstitions to avoid offending or crossing paths with wandering spirits.
Below, we go through a few property-related superstitions homeowners may want to look out for during this period.
1. Do take in your laundry before the sun sets
It is ill-advised to hang your laundry out overnight to dry during this period. There are several superstitions tied to this. One belief is that smoke from burnt offerings may cling to your laundry, causing it to smell of incense, which may attract wandering spirits. Another is that damp clothing attracts spirits to “try on” your clothes and “follow” you into the house.
Both ideas are equally spine-chilling but, logically speaking, it is rare for anyone to hang their laundry out overnight, given that our unpredictable weather is prone to sudden showers and storms in the middle of the night. Morning dew is also counter-effective in drying your clothes and may give them a “dank” stench from the moisture.
If you have the habit of hanging out laundry overnight due to an overly hectic work schedule, you may want to invest in a good dryer or switch out your washer for a washer-cum-dryer if space constraints are an issue. Now you can luxuriate in the joy of always having freshly laundered clothes that are properly dried.
2. Do hold off the renovations
Legend has it that you will anger resting spirits with the noise created through home renovation during this month. Other beliefs include renovation processes going awry, or workers inexplicably getting injured in the process of carrying out renovation works.
Home renovations during Hungry Ghost Month can still be carried out, but you may want to keep a strict schedule and have all reno works end well before sunset.
This also helps you avoid angering your resting neighbours, which could go a long way in ensuring you are welcome in your new neighbourhood. Besides, general renovations in HDB flats are only permitted to occur from Monday to Saturday, between 9 am and 6 pm.
3. Don’t leave your door open at night
While we don’t personally know anyone who does this despite Singapore being one of the safest countries to live in, we’d still like to remind all our beloved homeowners to keep their main doors closed and locked at night. Besides wandering spirits, an open door is an invitation for crime and ill intentions and does not bode well in Feng Shui either as it allows yin energy — which is the strongest at night — to enter your home.
If you have the habit of forgetting to shut your main door or to lock it, consider getting a door with an auto-close and auto-lock function. A cheaper option, instead of replacing your entire door, would be to install a self-closing door hinge and install a digital lock that automatically bolts your door when it is fully closed so you never have to worry about intruders, human or spectral.
4. Don’t move into a new home
Moving into a new home during Hungry Ghost Month comes with the eerie belief that you may find yourself with unwanted housemates — and we’re not talking about pests for which you can call in an exterminator. There are several ways to circumvent this.
While the most obvious method is to simply wait out the Hungry Ghost Month and move in after, there are also “cheat codes”, such as doing a “false move-in” before the Chinese Seventh Month begins.
You could get your contractor or designer to quickly complete the main bedroom, or at least have it in a relatively livable condition and stay one night in it before the Seventh Month. You could also cook a pot of rice in your kitchen as a declaration that you have “officially moved in”, so when you do actually take up residence during the Seventh Month post-renovations, it is taken that you have been living in the house all along.
5. Do get professional advice on purchasing new property
In previous years buyers have held off on buying a new property during Hungry Ghost Month. Reports showed that new private home sales fell drastically during Hungry Ghost Month in 2016. This could also have been due to developers pushing back project launches due to the inauspicious sentiments tied to the season.
However, in recent years, new launch sales have remained robust, and even taken an upsurge during Hungry Ghost Month as superstitions fly out the window, likely due to the combination of low supply of available properties as well as pent-up demand from buyers. In August of last year, the Business Times reported that private property resale volume rose despite it being Hungry Ghost Month.
Alternatively, you could also get a Feng Shui master to help you select an auspicious date to complete your property purchase. If you are looking to invest in a new property, getting a new launch that has yet to TOP may just be a win-win situation for you. Property transactions may be known to dip during this month as investors or new homeowners avoid purchasing new property, but new launch sales could still remain robust depending on the housing market at the time. But also, with the stretched completion timeline of new launches, you may even land yourself a good deal if developers decide to launch special promotions to drive sales during what they may fear is a “lull period” for sales!
Regardless of your beliefs, Ohmyhome is here to help you make prudent home buying decisions that will benefit you and your family!
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Frequently asked questions about Hungry Ghost Month
What is the month of the Hungry Ghost?
The seventh month in the Lunar Calendar is regarded as Ghost Month. The Hungry Ghost Festival is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the seventh month of the Lunar Year, which falls on 12 August 2022.
How long is the Hungry Ghost Festival?
The Hungry Ghost Month festivities last for 14 days; from July 29 to August 26 2022.
What not to do during Hungry Ghost Month?
Homeowners are advised to not hang their laundry overnight, hold off on home renovations, and moving into a new place, to name a few dos and don’ts.