Are you afraid of ghosts?

Wait, which ghosts are we talking about? In the current era, ghosts are those in the online dating world who suddenly stop texting or chatting after some seemingly successful dates. I hear they are quite abundant, since it is quite easy to abandon someone by simply not responding to their texts. Though they are scary, we’re not talking about those ghosts. We’re more onto spirits – evil ones – and they choose to be active on a particular month.

Now then, if someone asked you: “On the top of your mind, when is Ghost Month?”, which month will you pick?

I honestly thought the Ghost Month is November, given we celebrate All Souls’, All Saints’, and All Hallows’ Eve (Halloween) on that month. That is also the month the dreaded ghost stories, both old and new, are told.

However, the Ghost Month usually starts on August.

p.s. I searched if there is a particular Ghost Month when it comes to the online dating world, but no such month exists.

The Ghost Festival

The Hungry Ghost Festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the 7th lunar month—the Ghost Month—which usually falls on August to September. For 2019, the Ghost Month is from Aug 1 – 29, with the date of the Ghost Festival on Aug 15. (On 2020, the Ghost Month is from Aug 19 – Sep 16, with the festival falling on Sep 2.)

As told in the folklore, the gates of hell open at the start of the Ghost Month, allowing ghosts to roam free and have their vacation (yes, you read that right) until the gates close on the 30th day. During this time, people provide food offerings to the ghosts such as fruits and desserts. They also refrain from making big decisions and engaging in risky activities in fear of inviting bad luck.


Some Things to Avoid during Ghost Month

Swimming. During this time, swimming in deep waters may be a bad idea. I think we both know that big risk in swimming, but now there may be ghosts in the water with you.

Supernatural games. It is best to stay away from paranormal activities this time of the year, unless you truly intend to invite spirits, particularly the evil ones. You might want to postpone using that Ouija board.

Big deals that involve a lot of money. Starting a business or venture during Ghost Month may invite ghosts to cast curses into the business, making it unprofitable. Making investments may be unwise as the price of your investment may be lower in the future.

Speaking of investments…

Stock markets in August

When it comes to stock markets, August is usually a time of decreased market activity. This is the month where trades are low in volume and the stock prices are volatile. For the months of August [*] from 2000 to 2019[+], the PSEi went up only 6 times; it went down 70% of the time.

While the Ghost Month may seem to have an influence in the trading of Filipino investors, research suggests that the PSEi tends to close higher during the actual celebration of the Ghost Month. A generally accepted explanation is seasonality. August is summer in the West, so fund managers and businessmen from US and Europe go on vacation. On the local front, rainfall and typhoon activity peak on August, so investors may tend to stay on the sides while waiting for brighter days ahead.


* Measured by using the closing prices at the start and end of August.

+ As of August 9, 2019