Chinese superstitions

15 Interesting Chinese Superstitions You Do Not Know

Chinese superstitions have long been an integral part of the culture and are deeply rooted in the people’s culture, history, and beliefs. These beliefs are still relevant today, even if everyone does not widely practice them. Whether you believe it or not, these Chinese superstitions have somehow gotten into our daily life without us subconsciously knowing it.

From the Chinese Zodiacs to the number four, many interesting superstitions representing good luck or impeding misfortune exist in Chinese culture. Today, we’ll explore some of them you might not know.

1. Itchy Ears

Many people believe that if your ears itch for no reason, someone is talking about you. If it is your left ear, someone is saying good things about you, and vice versa. On the other hand, if your right ear itches, it means someone is talking bad about you. The itchier your ear, the more people are talking about you.

So if your ears keep itching, it is time to clean it. However, there are other meanings behind ear itching superstitions every hour.

2. Wearing Your Clothing Inside Out

In Chinese culture, wearing clothes inside out is considered a way of bringing good luck. So don’t be embarrassed because this is a sign of good luck.

In addition, it is an indication that the lousy situation will be gone soon, with good fortune coming if you are currently suffering from bad luck,

However, it does not count if you purposely wear your clothes inside out.

You might be interested to know more about clothing superstitions too.

3. Beginner’s Luck in Gambling

The idea that beginner’s luck exists in gambling has been around for a long time. In gambling, beginner’s luck is the phenomenon of a novice winning consecutive bets at the same table or in different places. Many believe that inexperienced gamblers may have a streak of good luck because they are less aware of basic strategies or do not understand what they are doing.

Experts in the gambling game will always grumble or give excuses whenever they lose to the novice, saying that this is “beginner luck”.

Besides that, the Chinese also believed that pregnant ladies have excellent luck in gambling, so they avoid playing with them.

4. Never Point Directly At The Moon

There is a common saying by the elderly that if you point directly at the moon, especially a full moon, it is disrespectful. By doing that, you will get punished by cutting off the back of your ears. In addition, you will get bad luck for a long time.

5. Knocking On The Hotel Room Door

Knocking on the hotel room door is a common practice for people staying in a hotel. It is a way to inform the spirit that you are coming, saying, “Excuse me, I am coming in.”

So, when travelling for business or leisure, always knock on the door, even for a short stay. But, on the other hand, there are more travel taboos you will not mind following to stay safe.

6. Hitting Someone With a Broom

Some believe that hitting a person with a broom brings bad luck. But, on the other hand, others believe it is just a superstition.

The origins of this superstition are unclear, but it may have been started by the association of brooms with witches and witchcraft.

7. Black Cat – Good or Bad Luck?

Many superstitions surround black cats. For example, some people believe that the colour of their fur is a sign of bad luck and others think they are lucky.

It is a common superstition or myth that black cats bring bad luck because, in the middle ages, they are close companions to evil witches. But in countries like Britain and Ireland, the locals believed that black cats bring good luck if they walk towards them.

On the contrary, in the Chinese tradition, black cats are not favourable, especially at funerals. People believed the corpse would turn into a zombie if a black cat jumped over it. Hmm, what do you think?


8. Opening Umbrella Inside The House is a Big No

Opening an umbrella indoors is a superstitious act in many cultures. Some people believe that opening an umbrella indoors brings bad luck, which is why opening one inside the house is taboo.

9. The Unlucky Number 4

One of the most common superstitions is the number four. Unfortunately, this number has many unlucky meanings, and people believe it brings misfortune and bad luck.

The number four gets its bad name because it sounds like “death” in Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese and Thai. For example, in Cantonese, the pronunciation “si” means “death.” In Mandarin, the pronunciation “si” also means death, but it’s pronounced as “shi.” Therefore, the Chinese avoid using this number as their house, mobile and car number.

10. “Touch Wood”

Touchwood is an expression used to express hope that something will not happen. In addition, many also use the phrase to bring good luck and ward off evil.

In today’s society, many people still believe in this superstition and use it to avoid bad luck. For example, someone who says something negative will touch wood to avoid any possible consequences.

11. Never Pat on A Gambler’s Shoulder 

Along with many superstitions, gamblers also do some good luck charms and rituals. For example, you should never pat a gambler’s shoulder for fear of bad luck.

12. Avoid Taking Photos in Group of 3

One of the most popular superstitions in China is that if you take a photo of three people, the person in the centre will die sooner. This superstition has become a meme on social media and is shared by many Chinese netizens.

However, there’s no scientific evidence that proves this superstition, but it’s still something worth considering.

13. Finish Every Bits Of Food

“If you want a good-looking partner, finish your food.”

This phrase is the most common advice from the elderly to us. When we cannot finish our food, the elderly always say this.

Apart from Chinese superstitions, it is also a good habit to avoid food wastage and learn gratitude.

14. No Whistling at Night

Whistling at night is seen as a bad omen. The Chinese also believed that whistling attracts ghosts and spirits.

Many believe ghosts as attracted by the sound of whistles, which they mistake for the call of a lost loved one. This superstition is especially true during the Hungry Ghost month, when people are likelier to feel lonely or abandoned.

15. Broken Mirrors

The superstition that broken mirrors bring seven years of bad luck is not new. This belief has been deeply rooted in people’s psyches through generations, and people still believe it today.

A person’s reflection in a mirror is the soul or spirit of their reflection. So when a mirror breaks, the soul becomes fragmented, bringing seven years of bad luck to whoever broke it.




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Traditions & Culture15 Interesting Chinese Superstitions You Might Not Heard Before