Don’t make big moves, they say. Keep a low profile, they say.
Welcome to the start of the Ghost Month.
Ghost Month starts on the first day of the seventh month of the Chinese lunar calendar, hence, for 2017, it runs from today, August 22, and ends on September 19. It’s a big deal among the Chinese, and superstitious believers take pains to minimize the bad effects that this month could potentially wreak. Ghost Month, after all, is the period when hell is said to release evil spirits onto the world to spring bad luck on mere mortals. The best bet to make it through the month unscathed, according to experts, is to deflect attention from ourselves so as not to attract the attention of those bad luck-wreaking evil spirits.
I guess Taylor Swift doesn’t believe in Ghost Month then.
She wouldn’t be alone in that one, though. Capitalists and hustlers won’t take a break from chasing paper, bad supernatural entities be damned. Also, folks who see themselves as rational don’t see much point in taking a breather past the halfway point of the year, when the insanity of the coming –ber months are just about to start.
But then again, a brief look into history would reveal calamitous events that happened within their respective year’s Ghost Month: the 9/11 terrorist attacks; the deaths of former Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. (August 21, 1983) and former president Corazon Aquino (August 1, 2009); the Manila bus hostage crisis (2010); and the collision of the MV St. Thomas Aquinas with the cargo ship MV Sulpicio Express Siete that resulted to 108 dead and 29 people missing (2013).
Coincidence? Sure. Anyone could point out a particular month in a year and find equally disastrous events hitting particular dates within that month.
Yet the persistence of the belief in Ghost Month proves its enduring hold on a section of the population’s psyche, with people even coining a hashtag for it:
Besides, there isn’t anything too harmful in what feng shui experts advise us to do during this inauspicious period. In fact, it’d be wise to follow a number of them all throughout the year. Here’s a rundown of the most basic precautionary measures they advise we take during Ghost Month:
1. Avoid attending wakes or funerals. If the event is for someone who’s a victim of the government’s ongoing war on drugs, weigh well the consequences of paying your respects in person and possibly getting labeled as a witness to their murder.
2. Avoid visiting the sick. Experts explain that due to the excessive yin or negative energy during Ghost Month, people become more vulnerable health-wise and prone to infection.
3. Avoid swimming. It is said that malevolent spirits are on the lookout for clueless people to drown. The better tip, though, is to take a goddamn swimming class. It’s an important life skill, y’all.
4. Avoid staying out too late at night. With the dismal state of public transportation in Manila, this is sound advice for everyone.
5. Avoid getting started on huge projects, from traveling to opening a business to moving houses. There’s the ongoing Mercury Retrograde too, which started last August 12 and will end on September 5, and is a whole ‘notha basket of do’s and dont’s.
So yeah, keep low and stay low would be the gist for Ghost Month–if you’re privileged enough to opt for that. But if you’re burning with anger and frustration at what has been happening in the country since last year, then by all means, stand up, speak out, and tell these mother-effing ghosts, “Come at me, brah!”