If you are Chinese, chances are you grew up with a lot of house rules. It wasn’t like making your bed every morning; rather, avoiding certain situations in which evil spirits had the chance to climb into our bodies. My superstitious family is perhaps a little unhealthily obsessed with luck, from ridding bad luck to attracting good luck. My upbringing has instilled supernatural beliefs in me ever since I was young, and honestly a bunch are still relevant to me today.
1. You can’t cut your nails at night.
Cutting your nails at night is said to bring evil spirits to your home. When a nail is cut, it opens the door for spirits to inhabit our bodies. If we cut our nails at night, we can also accidentally kill ourselves. However, if we make this beauty ritual a daytime habit, we’re somehow in the clear. I was always told to stow my clippings somewhere safe, a place I think ghosts will never think to look.
2. Finding the number 8 everywhere.
Numbers are a huge part of Chinese culture, where there are both auspicious and inauspicious numbers. Four is the worst number because it sounds similarly to the Chinese word for death. The luckiest number is 8, and it is good to have this number in a home you are thinking of buying, a cell phone number you want, or even a monetary gift to someone. It’s also good luck to gamble with 8.
3. New Year do’s and dont’s.
Before the start of the New Year, we take great precaution to attract more luck. For instance, we’re supposed to cut our hair before the new year, to wash away the old. We are encouraged to clean our homes top to bottom, and sweep any bad luck out the door. For the Lunar New Year, we must eat foods that will bring us luck, such as long noodles, long greens, and whole fish. The Lunar New Year is a time when almost everyone abides by old superstitions, since they celebrate tradition and spend time with loved ones.
4. Don’t buy clocks for your friend.
If we give a friend a watch or any device that has time on it, we are insinuating an early death for them. It’s only a matter of time before they are no longer with us; thus, it is deeply frowned upon to buy timepieces as gifts.
5. Own only pets that are “lucky.”
Owning certain animals have great significance. Dogs are considered lucky animals to have because they can see ghosts and alert you if they think you are in danger. Should our dogs howl through the night, it means someone we know has died nearby. If we own a turtle, it is thought to slow down any businesses we are dealing with. Thinking of getting a four-legged pal? Make sure the tips of their paws aren’t white, a color associated with mourning and death, and a reason my mother once refused for me to get a cat at the shelter.
6. Don’t think about your parents before bed.
It is thought that if we dream of snow or teeth, our parents will pass soon and it is our fault.
7. Eat every grain of rice.
Many children aren’t allowed to leave the dinner table until they finish every single grain of rice. My grandmother told me I would have acne for the rest of my life, and I would never find a suitable husband if I didn’t finish my plate. It didn’t matter whether I still had a few pieces of water spinach left, I had to finish my rice.
8. Your bed can’t face the door.
This is the superstition I believe most in. Your bed should be facing a wall, not a door or a mirror. If it does face one of these two things, you will open the gate for evil to come in. When I stayed at a friend’s house, I slept facing the door and it was the worst sleep I ever had. I had bizarre dreams, experienced sleep paralysis, and it was the most frightening night experience I ever had. Who knows, maybe superstitions only come true if you believe in them. I’m just going to warn you to think twice before setting up your bedroom.