Hey guys, when replying to a topic in Relationships, I just started to wonder about the different kinds of superstition unique to each culture. We Chinese have a ton of superstition which might not make sense but these are things you really might like to take note of when you are amongst Chinese people. I would also be really interested to hear about the different kinds of superstitions.
When buying a present, clocks and even watches are a no no. To give a clock has the same meaning as sending someone off at a funeral in Chinese this giving a clock to Chinese people is considered very bad manners. Some people also mind receiving watches as watches are like minature clocks.
When eating with a bowl and chopsticks, don't stab your chopsticks into the bowl and leave it like that. Reason being this is how we offer food to the dead. My parents scared me out of that habit by telling me that if I left my chopsticks like that, the ghosts would come eat all my food. This is particularly discouraged during the Hungry Ghost Month where the ghosts come out to play.
Chinese also like even numbers so if you have to give a red packet at a wedding, anything with the number 8 is your best bet. Simply because the number 8 when pronounced in Cantonese means prosperity.
Well, I know that in France giving chrysanthemums is a no-no, those are usually reserved for funerals.
No whistling in theatres, it's bad luck. It goes back to when sailors were in charge of all the ropes used for the set and the stage director used a whistle to tell them what to do, so whistling if you weren't the stage director would confuse them.
Breaking a mirror--I don't know why that's bad luck.
Walking under a ladder, that's bad luck because it's extremely dangerous and people just made it sound like the consequences were even worse so people wouldn't.
Spilling salt is bad luck too, I don't know about that either.
What about things that give you good luck?
I know some of the weirder ones are kissing a sea-cucumber and rubbing a buddha's belly. I have a little jade mini-buddha I wear on a string at exam time and when I'm nervous I rub his tummy.
in thai culture, it is extremely vulgar to be touching ppl on the head or pointing with the feet. BAD manners!!! in fact, i get offended by the foot thing, and i'm pretty americanized.
and it's more aupicious to have the bed in a north-south orientation, with the head facing north (but my head points south! aie ). also when hanging up the buddha image, you don't have it in a place where your feet would be pointed. but that only applies if you'd have a buddha in your room -- like me
------------------ | |: BGBGDGBG BGBGCGBG :| |
Posts: 12677 | From: Los Angeles, CA ... somewhere off the 10 | Registered: Jul 2000
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Well, Portuguese people are known to be very supersititious and pessimistic eheh ;) So I should have a handful of superstitions to list here :)
Some of the ones you said are "valid" here too, but here's some:
* walking under stairs (don't know the reason of that either - maybe it's because they can fall down on you ehehe)
* pointing in general is considered bad manners (not necessarily bad luck)
* It gives bad luck if there are 13 people sitting on a table (for a meal). If there are 13 people to eat, it's best to split like either 12 + 1 in different tables, or different combinations of 13 people :)
* Friday the 13th - bad luck for sure :p (don't ask me why)
* Actually anything related to the number 13 is usually bad luck...
* Don't put a hat on a bed - even more nonsense than the above hehe
* If you see a black cat that will give you bad luck
* To break a mirror will give you x years of bad luck (can't remember how many eheh)
* Don't congratulate someone for birthdays or other events beforehand! ;)
* For example, when entering the classroom to do a test/exam, always enter with the right foot first ehehe if you enter with the left foot first...bad luck! Of couse you can always try to jump in with both your feet ;)
* Also regarding tests or anything people would usually say "Good Luck!", some people actually say it gives bad luck to wish "Good Luck" (lol) ... so it's better to say something like "**** off" if you want to wish someone luck ... when I was at school I hated when people did that lol I think Americans have something similar that came from theatre, like "Break a leg", isn't it?
* To write a letter/note (or something to give someone else) in red is not bad luck but that means you're sending them (the person) to somewhere not very nice eheh like "piss off!" :)
* I think this should be fairly universal, but it's bad luck for a wedding if the husband-to-be sees the wife-to-be on her wedding dress before the day :)
* When I was in Turkey, when you visit someone it's polite to offer you tea (in small cute glasses eheh), and it's considered bad manners if you leave the glass full - if you don't like it (and the one I got was very very bitter *yuck*), try and drink a little bit, because if you don't, you'll be wishing bad luck to the familly that offered you the tea :)
Now some weird things for good luck... eheh :
* If you see a spider, or one is wondering around your house (lol) that means you'll have good fortune -> hasn't happened in my house yet ;)
* If a bird errr ':) (I don't really know the word for this, sorry eheh) you know, pee or something, over you, that's apparently good luck for you ;)
* On the New Year's Eve, you should eat 12 dry-grapes, one for each Church Bell sound (if you get that - like, when it's 12 o'clock of the 31st December), and making a whish for each one you eat, so that the wishes will come true in the year ahead
I think these should be enough :) If I remember something more I'll pop back! ;)
[This message has been edited by Sallynha (edited 06-20-2001).]
Posts: 390 | From: * my own little shell * | Registered: Jun 2000
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* If you kill a spider it'll rain * If you cross the path of a black cat it's bad luck * If you walk under a ladder it's bad luck * If you open an umbrella indoors it's something really bad like you're gonna die soon or something ... ?? * If you're sitting on the floor w/ your legs out and someone walks over them, you'll stop growing (height wise lol)
That's it for now i think ...
------------------ When mom found my diaphram, I told her it was a bathing cap for my cat. ~ Liz Winston
Superstitions huh? I think I can come up with a few... As an addition to some of the other posts, I've heard that walking under a ladder was bad luck because when a ladder is up against a building, it forms a triangle, and walking thru it was like breaking or going against the religious idea of the trinity (just what i heard somewhere). The others I know of, opening an umbrella indoors is bad luck, breaking a mirror, killing a spider, etc... I'm kinda surprised no one mentioned the superstitions associated with masturbation. Like hairy palms, pimples, and going blind. And a side note on the unlucky 13 thing, my last birthday was on Friday the 13th, and it was great!
------------------ "A wise monkey never monkeys with another monkey's monkey"
Posts: 52 | From: Usually somewhere between MI & FL - currently KY | Registered: May 2001
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Here in good old New Zealand, there's a superstition that if you go into a forest without any underwear on, some ancient Maori (nz native dude) will come out and eat you. Hmm.... There's also one that says if you see a black cat as you walk out of your house, don't go any further. But that one's pretty common. My mum also told me that if you open up an umbrella inside, it's bad luck. And if someone points a black umbrella at you, it's bad luck. If you cross one of the members of the NZ popstars (this manufactured group that everyone loved to hate) in a supermarket, you'll get bad luck. Luv, Bubbles
As for the mirror thing: if you break it, you get 7 years bad luck.
I've broken one before. I was about 8 years old, so my 7 years have passed and I've done pretty well.
That one might have been inspired by the scarcity of glass...probably was.
Oh and another one: don't step on cracks in the sidewalk.
Also, good luck things...hmm. There's the four-leaf clover... there's also something about a penny. I think if you find a penny face down on the ground it's bad luck, if face up it's good luck so you're supposed to pick it up.
And there are a bunch which are just bad manners and not really Evil Omens or anything.
Oh, also, some cultures won't let you take their picture because they feel a bit of the soul goes into the picture... but I can't remember which one(s).
[Added as an afterthought]: Don't say MACBETH in a theatre. It seems pretty silly but I suppose at [one of] the first productions of Macbeth something bad happened or whatever... anyway, my theatre friends swear they will never do it, ever, ever, and when it has happened, bad things have happened... but since I am not a theatre person, I wouldn't know. is something to be said for self-fulfilling prophecy though.
I believe Macbeth is not said because the play firstly involves an awful lot of death and that the first ever production of it was a disaster (I think a member of the cast died or something but im not sure). Actors refer to it as "the Scottish play."
There are few superstitions that have developed over the 3000 year history of the Jews but I will tell you one. There is a great tradition of opening the nearest window and shouting to all the neigbourhood "AND VHY DID HE ONLY COME SECOND?!" when your son returns home from school to recount a fairly good exam result. Related to this is the need to shout about the acedemic exploits of all your children in a passive aggressive manner to annoy other people who do not happen to have children who are complete geniuses. This is to give good luck to your childrens futures. I love my culture.
------------------ 'An Anarchist is a Liberal with a bomb' Trotsky
[This message has been edited by Confused boy (edited 06-21-2001).]
In theater it's extremly bad luck to say, 'Good luck', onces it's said there's not turning back. Even after a 'Break a leg'.
A few mexican supertitions that I can think of are, when you step into a differant room always step with your left foot (or is it right?) and another is once you baby is born you should a red ribbion around their finger so they won't get a look at the 'red eye'.
------------------ Every time someone says, 'I don't believe in fairies,' one falls over dead.
I'm not sure if this is superstition or not: In elementary school, it was understood that if you turned off all the lights in a room with a mirror and said "Bloody Mary" 5 times, the ghost of "Bloody Mary" would appear in the mirror. I don't know where this came from, but I remember kids shutting the lights off and me being scared out of my mind that a ghost was going to get me.
Then the old favorite, don't pick up a coin unless it's heads up
------------------ Can you fly this plane and land it? Surely you can't be serious. I am serious, and don't call me Shirley.
Posts: 37 | From: Massachussetts/Rhode Island | Registered: Mar 2001
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Having discussed this with my black cat who had viewed herself in a broken mirror after walking under a ladder, she tells me that she is not superstitious. She did tell me that having rabbit's feet are bad luck, for rabbits.
------------------ We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
Lovely. Thanks for clearing that up ThisGuy. Am going to take Japanese for one of my electives next year. Always nice to know abit more before starting.
Posts: 2294 | From: Singapore | Registered: Dec 2000
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