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Hungry Ghost Festival

August 1st, 2008 . by admin

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Today is the start of Hungry Ghost Festival 2008.

The hungry ghost festival starts on the 1st day of 7th month in the Chinese lunar calendar and ends on the 30th of the same lunar month. For this year, the hungry ghost festival starts on 1st August 2008 and ends on 30th August 2008.

It is said that the hungry ghosts are released from the lower realm onto the earth for a whole month. They will come and eat as much as they can before returning back to their suffering.

What are hungry ghosts?

The Tibetan Buddhism describes these ghost as tear-drop shaped, thin neck with bloated stomach. These ghosts are forever hungry because it is very painful for them to pass food through their thin necks. Some even describe their mouths the size of a needle’s eye and a stomach the size of a mountain.

Both Hinduism and Japanese Buddhism describe hungry ghosts as spirits cursed with an insatiable hunger for a particular substance or object.

How to ask for lottery numbers?

People like to ask the hungry ghosts for lottery numbers. The usual practice is to write the numbers on to pieces of paper about 1cm by 1cm. If you are asking for 3D or 4D numbers, just include 10 pieces of paper numbered 0 to 9. If you asking for other lottery numbers, just write the numbers 1 to the largest possible numbers onto the papers. Fold each piece of paper as many times as possible and place them in a cup. Circle the cup around the joss sticks on the altar, 3 times in clockwise direction. Kneel in front of the hungry ghost altar. Shake the cup back and forth as if you are praying, until a piece of paper drop out of the cup. Unfold that piece of paper and note the number written on it. Place that piece of paper back into the cup and repeat until you have all the numbers you wanted.

To make your lottery number really come out in the coming draws, you need to do the following as well.

  • Never reveal the numbers to those around you, especially the ones next to you when you asked for the number. You don’t want to get their bad luck, especially if they never strike lottery for some time.
  • Always tempt the hungry ghost by saying that you will buy delicious food like roast duck for offering if you strike the lottery. Don’t make promises you can’t keep like dancing naked in front of them if you win first prize. If you strike lottery with that number, remember to fulfill your promise.
  • Always ask for your numbers after sun set. Ghosts are said to roam the street after sun set. Your numbers are more accurate when there are ghosts around you.
  • Some hungry ghosts are not good with time. You may have to buy the same number for a few draws to see any result. Other ghosts may not be good with numbers and you may have to buy the same number in different combination.


How do you know the ghost have eaten the food.

When we eat food, the combination of taste and smell makes us feel the food is delicious or not. You can try eating your food while holding your nose and the food will taste "tasteless".

Hungry ghosts can’t eat the food physically. They are said to inhale the smell of the food. If you ever taste the food used in any hungry ghost prayer session, you will find the food is a bit tasteless, just like eating food while holding your nose.

Dos and Don’ts In 7th Month

To prevent problems, people who celebrate hungry ghost festival observe certain rules.

  • Always address the hungry ghost as "Good Brothers". Never address them as ghosts.
  • If there is a prayer session for the hungry ghosts, the tables usually are covered with red table cloth. Never look under the table. You may be shock of what you will see. The hungry ghosts are said to be eating the food under these tables.
  • If there is any outdoor stages during the festival, the front row is reserved for the hungry ghosts. Never sit on the empty chairs in the front row. You definitely don’t want to sit onto some hungry ghost.
  • Go home before sun set to avoid meeting the hungry ghosts on the street.
  • Many people also avoid holding any marriage, overseas trip or even moving of house in this month because this month is considered as inauspicious.

As long as you observed the dos and don’ts, the 7th month is just like any other month, except more lively at night.

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