Chinese Superstitions And Traditions

Chinese superstitions

Uncover hidden superstitions meanings

Chinese people are well known for keeping traditions and having a wide range of superstitions they follow.

It is believed that those who follow the traditions and superstitions fully believe good or bad luck will fall upon them if certain superstitions are not followed. They prevent calamity befalling them by following superstitions below. The culture of the Chinese superstitions originates from 4000 to 5000 years ago! Most countries have their own traditions which they treasure; the Egyptians have believe in a blue tortoise talisman which they believe can protect them from evil; Americans have the playoff beard (where athletes shave off their beard), and the Italian believes that number 17 is an unlucky number. Here are some of the Chinese superstitions and traditions which are interesting.

1. Chinese Superstition of Number 4 and 8:

Though most cultures have superstitions which are tied to numbers, the Chinese superstition goes a level higher. In the Chinese language, the pronunciation of the number 4 is similar to the pronunciation of the word “death” thus making the number to be considered the unluckiest number of all - rather like the number 13 in western cultures. If you go to China, most buildings lack the 4th floor. The opposite is number 8, it is considered to be the luckiest number of all times. A study, which was carried out in America shows that, Chinese – American addresses which end with the digit 8 sold higher by 2.5% more than average as compared to those which end up with the digit 4 which sold 2.2% less than the average price. This is attributed to the superstition the Chinese people have, concerning the two digits. Why do they adore digit 8? The pronunciation of the digit 8 is similar to the pronunciation of “to get rich” thus those with the number 8 are superstitiously believed to be rich or to get rich in the near future.

2. New Year Chinese Superstitions:

New Year in china is celebrated in a different way; the house is swept clean before the first day of the new year. It is on New year's eve that all the cleaning equipment which includes brush, brooms, dust pans, and dusters are placed aside. On the New Year’s Day, no sweeping is done to avoid sweeping away the good fortunes that the year brings. On the day after the New Year, the floor is swept from the door to the middle of the room, with the dust being kept in a corner, to be thrown away after the fifth day. It is believed that if you sweep the dust away during the first 5 days, it will bring a calamity to the family which includes one of the members dying. The dust and dirt in the house are swept inwardly in order to retain fortune. The dirt has to be taken out through the back door.

It is believed by the Chinese people that debts have to be settled before the New Year and nothing should be given out on the New Year day. No foul language, bad or unlucky words is expected to be used for the new year; words which sound like the word, “to die” in the Chinese language are not to be used including the digit number 4. Ghost, death, and dying stories are a taboo on this particular day and no reference is to be made about the previous year as the chinese believe in a new year means a new beginning. If one lends money on New Year’s Day, one will have to lend the whole year, if you cry, you will have to cry the entire year.

3. New Year Breakfast:

It is believed that, though porridge is high in dietary fiber and will keep one fuller for a long period, it should be avoided as breakfast on the first day of a new year. In olden days, it was associated with bad omen of being poor, thus people were completely prohibited from eating it on the first day of the year.

Washing Hair on New Year:

Chinese people believe that, since the pronunciation of hair is similar to the pronunciation of the word which means “to become wealthy”, washing hair on the first day of the lunar year is considered to be the same as washing away your fortune and thus prohibited.

4. Expelling Away the Old:

Chinese people believe that, in order to expel the old year with problems, you must able to blow off the fireworks in the air. With the bursting of the fireworks, your problems of the old year are gone, and you open a new chapter for the New Year. Any opening in the house, including doors and windows are left open so that everything about the old year is blown away and the New Year is welcomed in.

5. Women Going Out on New Year:

Chinese people believe that, if a woman goes out on the first day of the year, she will be unlucky the entire year. And if you are a married woman, you are not supposed to go and see your parents as this will bring them bad luck which will cause them economic hardship for the forthcoming year. Men are free to do as they please on this first day of the year.

6. Use of Cutlery and scissors on New Year:

It is believed by Chinese people that, use of knives and scissors is not a good idea as it is equated to cutting off your fortune for the entire year. So if you wish to cut anything on the first day of the year, make sure that you do so before the New Year to avoid this bad omen. Most, if not all of the above mentioned Chinese superstitions and beliefs are still practiced to this day.

By Florance Saul
Jan 5, 2017