What is Ghost Month? What You Need to Know About This August

Don’t be scared! Ghost Month isn’t as frightening as it sounds.

What is Ghost Month? What You Need to Know About This August
Families leaving offerings for the dead in Hong Kong
Photo by Nathan Tsui

Every year, the traditional Chinese calendar celebrates “Ghost Month” on the first day of the seventh lunar month (August). For 2021, Ghost Month starts on August 8 and ends on September 6. It’s a time of the year where the gates of hell supposedly open up and allows for ghosts and other spirits to roam the earth.

This can cause a series of bad luck for businessmen, homeowners, and couples; “bad luck” can refer to bad investments, accidents, and unexpected deaths.

Luckily, there is a list of do’s and don’ts to help you navigate through the tricky month.


  • Set out some offerings to feed hungry ghosts and appease them. These offerings can be anything from food to incense and even “faux money.”
  • Pray often to facilitate good energy and offer respects.
  • Practice feng shui in your home. To ward off spirits and foster a more positive environment, you could introduce lucky symbols into your living areas.
  • Keep your home well-lit. Darkness invites the presence of ghosts, so maintaining light in your home is a good way to prevent unwanted visitors.


  • Don’t sign contracts for marriages, business, financial dealings, medical procedures, and even job applications for now. Doing so might spell out failure or misfortune in the future.
  • Don’t go on long trips and travel, to prevent unexpected accidents. Bodies of water are a big no-no, as ghosts are looking for a “substitute” in the afterlife and may drag you in.
  • Don’t stay out too late at night; spirits gain strength through the moon’s yin energy and can follow you home. Women and children are especially vulnerable.
  • Don’t do any renovations on your home and do not move out. These actions may cause disturbance for spirits and can bring on bad luck for you and your family.

It may seem like a lot to follow, but remember that August will come to an end sooner or later! Whether you believe in Ghost Month or not, this special time of the year gives us some leeway to reflect on life and those who’ve passed.

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