Planning team outings or big organizational changes later this month? Don’t be surprised if the idea won’t sit well with some people. The Ghost Month is coming! For 2017, the traditional Buddhist and Taoist occasion will start on August 22, the first day of the Chinese calendar’s 7th lunar month. It will last until September 19.
For many, the Ghost Month simply means a time of being prone to accidents and bad luck. But what exactly is it about? And why is it being observed in the first place?
What’s the Ghost Month about?
According to Chinese folklore, ghosts have an entire month each year to visit the living and roam the world. That’s when the unhappy and troublesome spirits get the chance to cause misfortune to us.
Superstition has it that everyone should focus on honoring the visiting spirits throughout the Ghost Month. On the 15th day of the said month (September 5 for this year), some people observe the Hungry Ghost Festival and sponsor feasts to please and pacify the ghosts, especially the restless ones.
Past Events and Observance
A lot of local mishaps took place during the Ghost Month. Among them are: the assassination of former Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. (1983), the Manila bus hostage crisis (2010), the onslaught of Typhoon Habagat (2013), and the sinking of MV St. Thomas Aquinas (2013). On the international level, there’s the 9/11 terrorist attack (2001).
Last year, market investments hit a three-month low in August. The Central Bank of the Philippines said that some investors might have deliberately downplayed their investments because of the Ghost Month.
Those who believe in the occasion’s significance avoid making big decisions or engaging in activities that open them up to risk. Here are some of the things they veer away from.
- Taking long trips
- Making big purchases (eg. buying a house or a car)
- Building and renovating houses
- Starting a new business and signing a business deal
- Transferring offices
For some, there’s nothing to lose from keeping traditions in general. Others, however, don’t think the same. If you’re in HR or are leading a team, it’s crucial to acknowledge what each side believes in. Welcome diversity with open arms.
And the one thing you need to remember as an HR practitioner and leader: We value employees based on what they contribute to the company, not the beliefs and practices that they have.