In case you didn't know, according to Chinese tradition and folklore, the "Gates of Hell" open up for the entire 7th lunar month (usually falls on August of our normal Gregorian calendar). This has come to be known as the "Hungry Ghost Festival" and in 2021, it has already started a few days ago.
Legend has it that this is the month where many ghosts and spirits (or what the Chinese call "brothers") come up from hell and wander the human realm searching for food, entertainment, and perhaps even someone to follow home. Although celebrations have been muted due to the pandemic, it is still recommended to follow some "rules" and taboos of the festival. Speaking off, here are some fashion taboos you should take note when dressing up for the next month.
1. One Colored Outfits
Here, we're referring to outfits that are the same color from top to bottom, especially in red, white, or our favorite black. If you have no choice but to dress like this, then be sure to add plenty of accessories (like gold/silver) to color it up. Why?
An all-black outfit gives off a negative aura, attracting negative elements. Our "brothers" might mistakenly think there is a funeral if you have an all-white outfit, attracting more of their kind. Meanwhile, an all-red outfit reminds them of "blood", which might stir up some negative emotions about their previous lives and their deaths, causing them to want to hurt us.
2. Revealing Outfits
Remember that many kinds of sins land people in hell. As such, there are also spirits who are "hungry for sex" and might just have their sights set on those who wear revealing outfits. This is especially true at night. Even in the morning, avoid going to places where there is heavier "yin" than "yang" if you're wearing a revealing outfit such as hospitals, cemeteries and abandoned areas.
Besides, Chinese tradition states that we all have 2 "flames" on our shoulders and 1 on our foreheads which are supposed to protect us from harm. Wearing outfits that reveal the shoulders will leave those flames "exposed" and much easier to put out, leaving you unprotected.
3. Outfits With Holes
The Chinese have a saying whereby if you're dirt poor, you're called a 穷鬼 (pronounced "qiong gui") meaning "poor ghost". Traditionally, poor people can only afford to wear clothes that are patched up or filled with holes. If you are wearing a modern outfit designed with holes, you might be mistaken as a "poor ghost" and as one of them, making you a prime target.
4. Wedding Gown
Many, if not all, Chinese will avoid holding a wedding during this inauspicious month. Even the taking of pre-wedding photographs is not suggested. This is because many male spirits died single and putting on a wedding dress gives them a reason to stick to you. Also, you will also incite jealousy among female spirits who have died due to relationship issues in their past lives, which will result in a vengeful spirit.
5. Looking Disheveled
Last but not least, try to always keep yourself looking clean and tidy, especially during the 7th Lunar month. Try not to have messy hair (being especially careful not to cover our forehead) and tie up long hair that goes over the waistline. Also, don't get playful and start to put on costumes or makeup that look like them as this will make you one of them or further agitate them.
These taboos have been taken from Chinese culture and have been passed on for many generations. Whether you believe in the supernatural or not, it's best to give the unknown a certain amount of respect. Plus, it's always better to be safe than sorry.