I have noticed that recently there are a few funerals or wakes (obviously seen from the temporary canopies set outside some of the landed houses).
In fact, in my area alone, there's more than 3 already since last week.
When I drove around town or the island, I've seen a few too.
I remembered my mummy and granny used to tell us, that during certain months in the Lunar calendar, the elders are particularly sensitive towards them; especially those who are believers.
Those are considered 'dangerous' months for the elders; even more so if they are very ill and are admitted to the hospital.
I am sure many of us have heard of how stubborn our grandparents are about being admitted to the hospital or even going to the hospital to consult a doctor at one point or another in our life.
Why is this so, and what are the dangerous and so-called unauspicious months/time of the year?
According to Chinese superstition, there are two months in the Chinese Lunar Calendar which are the most risky.
The third month and the seventh month (in the Chinese Lunar Calendar)
The Third month is often known as the All souls or also known as Ching Meng month; where we go to the cemeteries and pay respect to our ancestors. (Christians and Catholics go to their annual cemetery pilgrimage in November; according to the normal calendar)
During the Third month of the Chinese calendar, it is believed that the souls are released and are allowed to roam around the cemeteries to see their loved ones.
However, they are only confined within the vicinities of the cemeteries and no further; although, it is not inevitable that some of the lost souls may wander further which is why the elders often take extra precautions.
If there is any elder in the family who is sick at this time, they are often cared for diligently and with extra precaution as their yang energy apparently is weaker at this time, which could result in their lives being taken away.
I remembered that I lost both my paternal grandparents during this time too; despite me not knowing this at that time.
I was told by my aunt and granny when they heard of the news and they mentioned that the Third Month is always very risky for elders; especially if they have been admitted to the hospitals.
It seems that the myth that hospital is dangerous for sick elders is backed up with the explanation that the Angel of Death and the 'Pun Kun' (the one who is responsible to lead those who have died to their next respectful destination) roam the grounds of this place which heals the sick.
Maybe most of the time, most of the names on their list is often stated as dying in the hospital or will be in the hospital as their last location?
The risk is when these netherworld officers are doing their job, they could spot another sick and ailing person in their bed and would check and decide that it's time for them to go and pick them up at the same time.
This was one of the explanation on some of the sudden deaths of the sick people in the hospital; despite them having recovered following their illnesses or their surgery.
Those who have underwent or are to undergo surgeries are even more at risk.
The other month which is even more feared is the Seventh month. Comparing the two months, the Third month is actually considered a mild risk as the souls are only allowed around the cemeteries' vicinity.
The Seventh Month; as we are all aware, is the month of the Hungry Ghosts Festival and it is the time where all Hell breaks loose! (not to be taken literally).
It is said that all the souls/spirits are released for a month's vacation and to roam the earth freely.
They are allowed to go anywhere they want for the whole month; giving them the opportunity to visit their loved ones.
It is a full month of freedom; of course, under the watchful and fearsome guard of the guardian officers who will be everywhere to control the situation and to ensure that no harm is done to the living.
Those who break the rules will be dragged back to hell; and will be punished severely.
It is also due to this fact, that the 7th month is considered so dangerous to the sick elders.
Usually a medium who predicts that the sick elder who can survive through the 3rd month may not be able to survive the 7th month.
The free roaming of the souls could lead to them dragging the sick folks to their deaths so that they are subject to reincarnation (sort of a headcount replacement thing)
That is the explanation for the higher number of deaths during the 7th month; not just among the elders, but also among those careless ones, i.e.: drowning, car accidents, etc.
If an elder is very sick and is in the hospital during this month, and they are advanced in their age, chances are they may be leaving their loved ones soon.
There are also plenty of taboos and strict rules to follow; as passed down by our elders for the 7th month which I am sure most of us have heard of.
(I will share more in an upcoming post)
Now, you know why our grandparents or old folks hate going or even the mere mention of the hospital?