Guides

The Stories Behind The

Superstitions We Adapted From

the Chinese

by Anne Marielle Eugenio, January 24, 2020 11:49am

Art by Dani Elevazo

Guides

The Stories Behind The Superstitions We Adapted From the Chinese

by Anne Marielle Eugenio, January 24, 2020 11:49am
Art by Dani Elevazo
 

Ever wondered why our parents and grandparents tell us not to point our feet towards the door when sleeping? Or why we put cash in red envelopes before giving to others? And where we got the belief of wearing polka dots during the new year will give us good fortune for the rest of the year?

All of these beliefs came from our long-time partners in trade—the Chinese. Their influence became so intact with our culture that we still live by several superstitions we often forget the origins of. Here are some of them:

Cutting One’s Nails At Night is Forbidden

We ask why our parents scold us whenever we cut our fingernails during evenings. Sometimes, we don’t get an answer. But according to a Chinese belief, cutting your nails might attract spirits to your home—now this is a scary explanation.

Eating Noodles for Longevity

During special occasions, especially birthdays, we always prepare noodles or “something long,” like pancit and spaghetti. This symbolizes long life for the celebrant. Don’t cut the noodles or it will also cut the longevity of a person.

Inserting Money When Gifting a Wallet

When you were a kid, remember that upon receiving a wallet, there’s a 50-peso or 100-peso bill tucked inside? You might think the giver is generous but that money means you well. If they give you an empty purse or wallet as a gift, they’ll bestow a lack of wealth unto you.

 
 
 
 
 
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Wearing Red for Good Luck

For the Chinese, red symbolizes happiness, success and good fortune. This is the reason why red is the most popular color in their culture. We adapted the fondness for this fiery color and we wear it when we need an extra boost or luck when doing something significant, like an exam or performance.

 
 
 
 
 
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Lighting Up Fireworks

Greeting the New Year would always be festive and noisy. We light up fireworks and firecrackers so we can have a bright year ahead. In Chinese culture, they use fireworks to ward off evil spirits away from their homes.

Believing Eight is a Lucky Number

If translated if Chinese, eight is pronounced as “ba” which sounded like “fa.” “Fa” means wealth or to make a good fortune.

Serving and Eating Tikoy

Chinese families want to make their ties as sticky as tikoy, which one of the reasons why they serve this sweet sticky treat during Chinese New Year. We wouldn’t be surprised if Filipino adapted serving sticky rice cakes or kakanin during New Year as well.

 
 
 
 
 
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We still live by these Chinese beliefs and superstitions that have become so intact with our daily lives. That alone proves how the Chinese helped shape the Filipino traditions.

 

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