Common Chinese Superstitions

Chinese superstitions, like any superstitions, can't be substantiated, so they rely heavily on blind followers. Whether any of the bad omens actually come to pass is anyone's guess, of course, but it stands to reason that if they do happen, it probably will be due to coincidence and not because the superstition was factual.

More often than not, ancient superstitions are created and passed on from generation to generation in an attempt to avoid dangers that plagued cultures in earlier times. There's also a very good chance that most superstitions were simply made up by leaders to keep people frightened so that they could be controlled.

Chinese Beliefs
The Chinese culture respects the mysterious aspects of life. Clues to this mystery can be discovered by becoming one with the environment and by knowing one's place in the universe. Some of the methods of doing that are etched into superstition, such as those that circulate around the Chinese New Year.

According to Chinese tradition, in order to know your place , you must also know how to appease the elders, as well as the universe. There is no better place to start on your journey than on New Year's Day. In keeping with tradition, you should do the following:

  • Make sure all doors and windows are opened at midnight to allow the old year passage.
  • Ensure a good New Year by refraining from eating meat on the first day of the New Year.
  • Serve life noodles on New Year's Day; the longer the noodles, the longer your life.
  • Ensure that your home is prosperous by keeping plants in your home that will bloom during the New Year celebration, especially on New Year's Day.
  • Ensure good luck remains with you throughout the New Year celebration by making sure dirty floors are swept inwardly, and dirt is stored in the corners where it will not be trampled and where it will remain until the New Year has passed.
  • Make sure all debts are paid back by New Year's Day.
  • Make sure everyone in the family wears red clothing on New Year's Day. In Asian superstitions, red is a color that will ensure a happy, healthy, wealthy and bright future.

Chinese good luck omens for the rest of the year include the following:

  • Hearing a crow between the hours of three and seven means gifts are on the way.
  • The number 9, which sounds like the Cantonese word for "sufficient," is a number filled with good luck
  • The number 8 is the highest of good luck charms, because the Chinese word for this number also means "to prosper."
  • If you wear red clothing, you will be lucky.
  • If you have a concave navel, you will be prosperous.

Superstition in Design
Feng Shui is a form of Chinese art and design that applies to everything in life. In Feng Shui, there are two types of energy: positive and negative. Attracting and enhancing the flow of positive energy in your home will increase prosperity, as will finding ways to reflect negative energy away. Principles of Feng Shui can be found throughout China, from the arrangement of furniture in a home to the architectural design of buildings.

Because Feng Shui cannot be substantiated by scientific reasoning, it is a form of superstition. There are many elements of balance, practicality and aesthetic beauty in Feng Shui, so even those who aren't true believers may find that it enriches their lives.

According to Feng Shui teachings, one should follow these steps when it comes to their own home, or bad luck will follow:

  • Only use an even number of steps on any staircase.
  • Mirrors should not reflect out through a window.
  • Never place your desk so that your back is to the door.
  • Never place a bathroom above a dining room.
  • Never place the master bedroom above the garage.
  • Never face the gate directly to the road.
  • Never build a house so that it is facing North.
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