In my last post (‘What’s in a name?’) I mentioned that many Chinese believe that the year in which they are born can influence their ‘fortune’. Below are some other common superstitions that are still followed today (more-or-less)  – Note: extracts from

  • “An aversion to Used or Second-hand Things – In a fast moving economy you’d think there’d be a big market for second-hand goods. However, there’s a superstitious aversion to second-hand or used products”

“Part of it comes from the classic “face” construct, wherein one’s reputation takes a hit if it becomes known that they’re using second hand products.”

“Another part of it is that many believe while being in possession of a secondhand item, they’ll inherit whatever bad luck or misfortune of the item’s previous owner.”

It’s also possibly due – in part -to the fact that new stuff is relatively cheap here?

And then, as things tend to be made so poorly here (low price and quantity versus quality) I doubt much stuff would be capable of being used again. The other day I said to a friend ‘Buy cheap, buy twice’ to which she replied ‘Buy Chinese, buy 3 times!’

  • “Aversion to the Number 4 and Affinity For the Number 8” –

“It’s commonly known that the word for the number 4, or “sì (四)”, sounds a lot like the word for death “sǐ (死)”, and thus is considered highly unlucky. A study even proved that in North American communities with large numbers of Chinese immigrants, addresses ending in a 4 sold for 2.2% less than average.”

“Addresses ending in an 8, on the other hand, sold for 2.5% more than average. The reasoning here is that “bā (八)” sounds a bit like “fā (发)”, a shortened version of “fā cái (发财)”, or “to get rich,””

  • “”yuè zi (月子)” a month-long period of confinement for mothers after a child is born. Mothers are not permitted to leave the house for the month, and are prescribed strict treatments of traditional medicines and diets and are discouraged from showering for an entire month.”
  • “chī nǎ bú nǎ.” It means whatever body part of an animal you eat, that part of your body will reap its benefits. For example, if you eat fish eyes, your eyesight will improve.” Speaking of which, my husband and I were quite surprised (and a little repulsed) when both of our kids picked out the fish eyes with their chopsticks one day and popped them in their mouths.
  • Avoiding cold drinks and food – I’m not sure if this would be considered a superstition or not, but most people prefer cooked meals (including a warm breakfast) and drink their beverages at room temperature whether it be tea ….or beer.

Shanghighs‘ (literally): 29 degrees celsius today

Shanglows‘: 11 degrees celsius forecast for next Tuesday.

IMG_5835Shangunusuals‘: a year ago I posted a picture of this art installation by the Huangpu River – which is now a a big tangle of ropes… and lots of fun to ‘hang’ around. I also posted a photo of a lion dance (which frightened my son) at the children’s school last year. Well this year he bravely ‘slayed’ the beast – perhaps the knight costume gave him courage?



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