4 Things Chinese People May Be Superstitious About

The Chinese culture and civilization is over 7000 years old and is entwined in legends and tales. There are many traditions that Chinese families hold dear and pass on to their children, but there are also many unique superstitious. Here are the 5 things that most Chinese people are superstitious about.

#1 Numbers

Source: ExpatGo

Source: ExpatGo

In the western world, we too have our superstitions about numbers like the number 13, but it’s not taken as seriously as it is in China. In China and many other Asian countries, four is considered unlucky because the pronunciation sounds like death. In Chinese four is pronounced “Sì”, while death is pronounced “Sǐ”. So not only will you not usually find the forth flour and room numbers in hotels, but it’s considered bad luck to gift anything in fours, whether that be the amount of money or items. It would be equal to wishing death on someone.

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On the other hand, the number 8 is considered very lucky in China. In Chinese, 8 is pronounced “bā” and sounds like the word “fā” which means to get rich. Chinese people will go to great length to get phone numbers, license plates, hotel room floor, etc. with the letter 8 in order to feel luckier.

#2 New Years

Source: Wikipedia

Source: Wikipedia

Chinese New Year is one of the biggest celebrations in China, and falls on a different day every year depending on the Lunar calendar. There are many rituals that different regions in China partake in, but there are some common superstitions that most Chinese families follow. Cleaning the day before new years is common to prepare for the new year, but on the day after new year’s you shouldn’t wash or clean your house or else. It is believed you are getting rid or removing the good luck from the house that came in on the new year, some go as far as not showering or washing their hair. However, you should open your windows to welcome the new year in and let the old year out. It is also commonly thought that wearing red from head to toe on new year’s will bring you luck. In addition, the first person you meet on new years and the first things you hear are significant to your new year’s fortune, so it is lucky to see or hear songbirds or red-coloured birds or swallows. Many also refrain from using knives or scissors on New year’s day as its believed that it will cut off your new years fortune.

#3 Appearance

Some of the superstitions that come with appearance and personal care may be the weirdest. For example, you’re not supposed to cut your nails at night or it will bring financial problems. Men shouldn’t grow moustaches as it will bring misfortune and bad luck, but if one choose to grow a moustache, it must be well-trimmed. Wearing white is also considered a bad omen. Although it’s less commonly thought of now, it was an ancient tradition to wear white to funerals and in China not until recently did brides wear white dresses. Another strange one is that if you have hair coming out of a mole, it is considered a symbol of luck and longevity and your not suppose to cut it or else you will cut your luck.

#4 Pregnancy

There are a lot of superstitions in Chinese culture about what should and should not be done during pregnancy and after. Expectant mothers should eat colder things, because being pregnant is considered to be a “hot” condition and eating cold things will balance the yin and yang. If you eat shellfish, while pregnant, you could give your baby rashes, and eating pineapples may cause miscarriages. After you give birth, mothers need to “zuo yuezi” which literally translates to sitting month. This is quite an accurate description because for one month after giving birth, mothers should stay in bed and do no housework, keep warm, drink lots of soup for breast milk, no showers and in extreme cases they’re not allowed to brush their teeth. Most of these superstitions are derived from the conditions in ancient times, when childbirth was more difficult and many women died from giving birth, but many of these traditions are still being practiced to today.

We just named a few, what other things do you know that Chinese people superstitious about? Or are there any interesting superstitious from your culture?

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Monica Guan

Monica is a Canadian-Chinese travel blogger and marketer that has spent time in beijing, nanjing, guangzhou, shenzhen, hangzhou,and xitang, shanghai. When she isn't watching YouTube videos, you can find her writing or creating videos.
Monica Guan