Pointing at the moon? Sharing pears? Four common Chinese superstitions explained

News of a Shanghai kindergartener left at the wrong school by his uncle prompted some to joke the boy ought to exact revenge on his careless relative by getting a haircut next Spring Festival, traditionally believed to be a fatal curse upon one’s mother’s brothers.

Growing up in the countryside, I was “instructed” by relatives and other elders with various dos and don’ts, which I generally obeyed, despite sometimes wondering whether there was a shred of truth to them. Looking back, I’ve been able to discover possible origins for the some of the strangest folk beliefs in rural China.

1. Same, same but different

Want to continue reading?

Log in or register now to read the full story


author Tan Yunfei (谭云飞)

Tan Yunfei is the editorial director of The World of Chinese. She reports on Chinese language, food, traditions, and society. Having grown up in a rural community and mainly lived in the cities since college, she tries to explore and better understand China's evolving rural and urban life with all readers.

Related Articles