Chinese Omens & Superstitions
There are many bad omens in China – namely, the number four, facial hair, and the howling of a dog late at night. But one of the worst omens in China involves a commonplace human necessity: clocks.
If you give a clock to someone in China, it’s considered very rude. That’s because it implies you’re counting the gift recipient’s time left on earth. Interestingly, the Mandarin word for “clock” is also a homonym for attending a funeral or a wake. The omen is familiar to Cantonese speakers as well, and it is observed by all classes of people in the country.
China is a land of many popular beliefs, customs, and superstitions. This is all part of Chinese life. These beliefs and customs may be termed as superstitions. They may have their own merits and demerits. But they form part of the quintessence of life in this Oriental nation. In today’s world of growing globalization and the emergence of China and Asia generally as the main economic growth region, there is heavy traffic of people from other parts of the world to China and Asia. A basic understanding of the popular Chinese superstitions, customs, and beliefs will make it easy for appreciating the social life of China and easily acclimatize with the land. The following are the main superstitions and beliefs in the Chinese world.
(1) If one hits another person with a broom, the hitter will get bad luck and he will ruin his life.
(2) The Chinese believe that one should keep a well-shaven face. If one wears a mustache it should be well-trimmed. If one violates this norm it will give bad luck.
(3) Another Chinese superstition is that if a dog howls for a few hours in the late of night, it means someone died somewhere.
(4) It is another superstitious belief of the Chinese that if one has a dream of teeth or snow; it indicates that his parents are dead.
(5) If a baby cries for no reason, the Chinese believe that there are ghosts around and the child is disturbed by the ghosts.
(6) Another superstition of the Chinese is that building a house facing the North would bring in ruin to the family.
(7) It is a superstition among the Chinese that if one marries a person who is either three or six years older or younger is bad and it will bring bad luck to the couples.
(8) The Chinese believe that clipping toe-nails or finger-nails at night would bring ghosts to that place.
(9) Another popular Chinese superstition is that if one points at the moon with one’s finger it will make one’s ear tips fall off.
(10) Another popular belief of the Chinese is that if one was to cage and keep a turtle as a pet, it will ruin his business and fortune. For it will slow a person’s business down.
(11) This is another popular superstition in China. The Chinese believe that the number 8 is a lucky number because the pronunciation of the number ‘eight’ and the pronunciation of the word for ‘prosperity’ in Chinese is similar. Hence, the number 8 has much value in social life in China. So if a house number or the registration number of a car has the 8 as a number, people think it is a lucky sign. Often people pay a big sum to win a number with 8 for their car.
(12) In another popular Chinese superstition, the number 4 is considered unlucky. Hence this number is unacceptable for vehicles and houses. It is so because the number 4 in Chinese has the pronunciation similar to the word for the word ‘death’.
(13) The Chinese believe that numbers 8, 18, 13 and 168 are lucky. Hence those who are on a gambling or business trip prefer these rooms. Ass these numbers are in great demand, often disputes and fights arise over the choice over these numbers.
(14) In another popular Chinese superstition, the Chinese do not sweep during the New Year because if one does so he will sweep away all the good fortune. Hence the sweeping on the New Year is to be done the day previous.
(15) As part of another popular superstition among the Chinese people, eating noodles will not be easy in China. This is because the popular belief is that an uncut noodle in the soup will increase longevity. If the noodle is cut it will cut the longevity. Sometimes people may chock if the noodle is too long.
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