Ghosts make audacious break-out from gates of hell

By Hoang Hoang   August 3, 2016 | 11:18 pm PT
Tread carefully this month in Vietnam if you don't want to end up in bed with an evil spirit.

The seventh month of the lunar calendar in Vietnam, which this year kicked off on August 3, is considered the Month of Forsaken Spirits, when the gates of hell open on the second day so hungry spirits are free for a short time before returning to the fiery depths on the 15th.

According to Vietnamese belief, humans have two parts: body and soul. And when the body dies, the soul may either be reincarnated into a different life form or go to hell to become ghosts or evil spirits that harm the human world. People normally sacrifice rice, porridge and salt to the spirits during that time in order to keep them calm and to avoid trouble.


According to popular Vietnamese folk beliefs, there are nine things that should not be done during the Month of Forsaken Spirits:

1. Avoid hanging bells or wind chimes in the house, especially near your beds because they attract ghosts that will haunt you while you sleep.


2. Don’t travel alone at night by yourself, it is very likely that you will be followed by spirits or meet them by chance.

3. Don’t shave your legs or pluck your leg hair out during the month because there is a proverb in Vietnam: “One leg hair controls three ghosts”. The more leg hair you have, the safer you are for the month.

Golden fleece. Photo by Giovanni DallOrto, September 3, 2013.

Golden fleece. Photo by Giovanni Dall'Orto, CC by 2.0.

4. Don’t burn paper randomly because it will draw ghosts and evil spirits’ attention.

5. Don’t eat food used to make offerings during worshiping rituals because it will lead to a personal disaster.

6. Don’t hang clothes at night because the ghosts will “borrow” them to stay in overnight and cling onto your body the next morning.

7. When you pass by empty, dark places, do not turn around even if you feel someone is following you or calling out your name.


8. Don’t take pictures or selfies at night, spirits will join you in the photos and that would definitely not be very pleasant.

9. When you go to bed, do not point your shoes or slippers toward your bed. Demons will recognize there are humans and climb in with you.

But there are also five things that you should do during the month to stay safe and sound:

1. Avoid killing (humans included).

2. Eat more vegetables to cleanse your body.

Photo by Vo Hong Hai/VnExpress Photo Contest

Photo by Vo Hong Hai/VnExpress Photo Contest

3. Join charities and do work for the community.

4. Visit pagodas and temples to wish for peace and luck.


Photo by Thai Sinh/VnExpress Photo Contest

5. Stay away from conflicts with human beings (especially ones with tattoos and guns).

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