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The 5 Dos and Don’ts of Chinese Superstition

From the tears of dogs to the number 4, follow this quick-and-easy guide to dodging bad luck the Chinese way

01·12·2013

The 5 Dos and Don’ts of Chinese Superstition

From the tears of dogs to the number 4, follow this quick-and-easy guide to dodging bad luck the Chinese way

01·12·2013

Every culture has its own hefty set of superstitions, and China is no different. In fact, Chinese beliefs hinge on tiptoeing around them to avoid the curse of bad luck. Take a look at five ways you can guarantee your good luck and shun misfortune.

1. Brooms  

DO: In gambling, the broom is a deadly weapon for use against your opponents. As the broom is said to contain a spirit with the devil’s own luck, threaten its well-being until you score a lucky strike.

Alternately, opt for religious purification by performing a temple ritual to get rid of bad luck by sweeping your whole body in front of the deities. Make sure you beat the broom afterward to avoid being cursed.

DON’T: Beat a person with a broom. This will curse you, and while technically the curse can be lifted by rubbing the sore parts of the body that have been hit, why take a chance?

During the Spring Festival, avoid using brooms for three days, starting from New Year’s Day. This will ward off bad luck and pave the way for a promising year. Also, since brooms are said to be possessed, avoid using them for playing games.

Finally, a broom should not be used for cleaning the house or altar of the gods, as this is disrespectful.

2. Numbers

DO: Run into the number eight as much as you can. Business will boom and the cash will roll in, as eight in Chinese is associated with fortune, wealth and prosperity. It will bring you happiness and provide you with as much luck as you can summon.

DON’T: Use the number four, as it means “death”. It will bring misfortune to you and will cancel out the luckiness of your other numbers. Save your breath looking for 4th floor buttons in elevators, as they will often be skipped. Avoid including the number 4 on car number plates, house addresses and phone numbers, and you will be safe from the curse of bad luck.

3. Mustaches and Beards

DO: Keep a clean-shaven appearance. You will be respected and not confused with a disgruntled peasant.

DON’T: Look disheveled and unkempt. Wearing a mustache is considered bad luck and can bring misfortune to your family. It can also lower your status in society.

4. Finger and Toe Nails

DO: After nail trimming, carefully collect and dispose of your clippings in a secret place. This will prevent them from being used to cast a spell or place a curse on you.

DON’T: Clip your nails at night, as you might get a chilling visit from the dead.

5. Dog’s Eye Fluid

DO: Listen to your dog when it howls repeatedly at night. This is foreshadowing an imminent death.

DON’T: Smear dog’s eye fluid in your eyes. It seems obvious, but bear with us – it is believed that dogs may see supernatural beings, and that by rubbing their tears in your eyes you can see them as well. However, you may not live to tell the tale, as the shock of witnessing the afterlife can kill you.

For another dose of Chinese superstition, try our blog on Superstitions Behind The Number Three