Haunted by the Hungry Ghost Month

If Halloween is spooky, wait till you hear about the Hungry Ghost Month.

Our Chinese brothers and sisters believe in the Ghost Month: “The seventh lunar month in the traditional Chinese calendar is called Hungry Ghost Month. On the first day of the month, the Gates of Hell are sprung open to allow ghosts and spirits access to the world of the living. The spirits spend the month visiting their families, feasting and and looking for victims. There are three important days during Ghost Month. On the first day of the month, ancestors are honored with offerings of food, incense, and ghost money – paper money which is burned so the spirits can use it. These offerings are done at makeshift altars set up on sidewalks outside the house.

Almost as important as honoring your ancestors, offerings to ghosts without families must be made, so that they will not cause you any harm. Ghost month is the most dangerous time of the year, and malevolent spirits are on the look out to capture souls.

The 15th day of the month is Ghost Festival, sometimes called Hungry Ghost Festival. The Mandarin name of this festival is zhōng yuán jié (中元節 / 中元节). This is the day when the spirits are in high gear. It’s important to give them a sumptuous feast, to please them and to bring luck to the family. Taoists and Buddhists perform ceremonies on this day to ease the sufferings of the deceased.

It’s also a big deal here in the Philippines due to the large Filipino-Chinese community, majority of whom are considered some of the Philippines’ most successful businessmen. It’s too much of a big deal that newspaper columns even devote a space for it.

In a great conspiracy between the Universe and the Hungry Ghosts (whoever they may be) — I happen to be one of the unlucky recipients of dumb luck.

Consider my misfortune. My long issue with tension headache — the type that felt like someone named Michonne is practicing her Katana-slicing skills on my head ten thousand times — is back. I don’t know if I should throw a pity party or what. Things came to a (messy) head when vertigo (another dear, old friend) made an appearance two days ago which led to a trip to the hospital. Yey, me.

Hello Needle, my old friend
Hello Needle, my old friend

What I hated most is that I had to be jammed again with needles, to administer the drug and all that. Again, I felt like a junkie, minus the high usually associated with getting a hit. All I had is an itchy, scratchy skin poked with a needle, waiting to be liberated. It’s the poking and the constant needle prick that I hated most with hospital visits. I considered telling the doctors not to remove that damned thing in my hand, you know — for future uses and for aesthetic purposes (makes a great conversation starter: “Oh, I love the needle jammed in your right hand….” “Oh, this? It’s the coolest thing, baby….)

Then, a few days later — the wound I was stubbornly ignoring, hoping it will get well on its own, got infected and swollen, spewing out all the unprintable bits usually seen in the grossest episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Okay, because I am shameless– spewing out a nice cocktail of blood and puss. (Sorry for the TMI, please don’t go. Or wretch.) It would have been cool and all, nothing a great combo of Hydrogen Peroxide and Betadine couldn’t cure, but no, the wound had to be located at one of the most inconvenient place in the human body. Yes, I am the epitome of unlucky. So, I had to drag myself again to the doctor for another combo of prescription medicines.

I seriously can’t wait for this month to be over. Considering my clumsy and careless ways, I will undoubtedly find ways to tempt my luck again.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: