Spit over your shoulder: 5 things the superstitious Chinese fear

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Spit over your shoulder: 5 Things Superstitious Chinese Fear

Despite all its economic growth and technological development, China remains true to ancient customs, and the line between tradition and superstition is very thin here. And although the inhabitants of the country are not afraid of black cats, empty buckets and spilled salt, they have many other prejudices and signs that have accumulated over the millennia of the existence of Chinese civilization. “Subtlety” tells why the Chinese love red, don't like to swim, and are mistrustful of books.

1. Evil spirits

Even in the 21st century, the inhabitants of the Celestial Empire are afraid of otherworldly evil spirits, and a number of signs are associated with this superstition. For example, high thresholds are set at the entrance to a house, temple, palace or even a park: the Chinese believe that ghosts will not be able to overcome this obstacle and will remain outside the door. The well-known Chinese tradition of wearing red clothes for the New Year, weddings and other celebrations also grows legs out of belief in evil spirits. Now red is called the color of the holiday, but initially it was believed that its brightness could scare away all the bad.

For the same purpose, New Year's fireworks are arranged (the louder the better!), and in May they decorate the house and the entrance to it with heads of garlic.

For the Chinese, a book is the worst gift, bringing sheer trouble and misfortune.

2. Tricky Water

The Chinese are very wary of water: they do not like to swim in the sea and swim far from the coast, preferring safe walks along the embankment. This fear of water is partly due to the belief that the seas, rivers and lakes are inhabited by the evil spirits of drowned people who are happy to drag people under water. True, there is a more significant reason – most Chinese simply do not know how to swim. The locals are just as careful about washing their hands: doing it too often can wash away good luck. But the opposite is also true – if you are haunted by trouble, you just need to wash off the accumulated negativity.

3. The Fatal Four

The famous Chinese tetraphobiagot its name from the harmless number 4: the inhabitants of the country are sure that the four brings misfortune. In Chinese, “four” sounds almost the same as the word for “death,” which is why many houses don't have fourth floors, airplanes and movie theaters don't have fourth rows and seats, and phone numbers with fours are cheaper than others. But there are also regional features: in the dialect of Guangdong, this figure is consonant with the word “water” and is considered a symbol of wealth.

At the same time, the doubled four is a lucky number: the sound of “eight” resembles the word “prosperity”. In Chinese stores, prices often end in 8, and the Beijing Olympics started at 8:08 PM on 8/8/2008.

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