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Chinese Superstitions
By: Anonymous Story Submission

Numbers

Just like Westerners believe that the number 13 brings bad luck, the Chinese and Koreans are believe that the number 4 (as well as 14) has a bad connotation. This is because for Chinese, the number 4 (si) and “si,” which means “death,” are pronounced the same, while for the Koreans, the number 4 (sa) and “sa,” which means “death,” are pronounced the same. I read of someone whose phone number meant, well, why don’t you read it? Click here.

On the other hand, just as 7 seems to be the designated lucky number for the Western world, the Chinese believe that the numbers 8 and 28 bring good luck. I believe that it is because the number 8, when pronounced in Chinese, has the same pronunciation as good luck. Isn’t it a strange coincidence that the numbers of bad luck – 4 and 14 – are exactly half of the numbers of good luck, i.e. 8 and 28?

Gifts

Chinese believe that you should never EVER give a clock as a gift to a friend. The Chinese sound for clock is zhong. For most Chinese, one should never give it as a present because the pronunciation of “giving a clock” (sung zhong) to a person is the same as sung zhong, which means to bid farewell to a dying person on his or her deathbed.

In the Chinese language, the fan (shan) and the umbrella (san) have very similar sounds to the word “san”, which is a term that means to break up, to dismiss, to dissolve, to seperate.” It is a “forbidden” word among Chinese performers because their professional survival depends on a continuous succession of contracts; therefore, for them, the very notion of “seperation” infers the destruction of their career. This tradition is carried to the extent of preventing a performer not only from voicing this particular word, but even from mentioning any term that includes the same sounds, such as “shan” which means fan, or “san” which means umbrella.

Food

When eating a fish, you are advised not to flip over a fish to debone it once the top half has been eaten. According to Chinese superstition, turning over the fish means bad luck and that a ship/boat would capsize if it was flipped over. They usually just separate the lower half of the fish from the skeleton without turning it over.

When eating with chopsticks, caution is advised. If you find an uneven pair at your table setting, it means you are going to miss a boat, plane or train. Dropping chopsticks will inevitably bring bad luck, as will laying them across each other.

Chinese New Year

It is very inauspicious to sweep clean your house using a broom on Chinese New Year. This is because the Chinese believe that sweeping your house on New Year will mean that you are ‘sweeping’ away your good luck for the year along with your dirt. On the other hand, the day before New Year, the house is swept from top to bottom to sweep away any traces of bad luck.

Care must be taken not to break any dishes, and the use of knives, scissors, and sharp instruments should be avoided since these things could bring harm, and thus bad luck for the coming year.

During the dinner on the eve of the New Year, red is traditionally worn as this color is said to ward off ghosts and evil spirits. However, white and black are never worn, are these colors are associated with mourning and death.

On a side note, the origin of Chinese New Year is fascinating! Many differing stories exist, but most seem to agree the word “Nian,” which means “year” in modern Chinese, was the name of a beast that preyed on people on the eve of the lunar new year

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