Human beings are superstitious especially among Chinese. If anyone who claims that he or she is not superstitious is either a liar or a fool. A lot of us believe in certain things that do not have logical explanations. This is especially true in this multi-racial country of ours. Each community has its own beliefs. It would be impossible to discuss all of the beliefs of Chinese; therefore I will just touch on some of them.
I still remember a few years ago, some of my friends and I went to a holiday in Bukit Bendera. One of friend decided to take some snapshots. So we all were dressed up and ready to be shot'. We had our individual photographs taken first, and then we decided to have group photographs. But one of my friends gave us a warning that did not made up any group of three. He said that misfortune will befall one of the three if they have their photographs taken together! After listened that everyone avoided being in a group of three. Although I STUDY SKILLS IN ENGLISH SSE 131 never heard of such a thing before but after hearing it, I did not want to take the risk. Actually it spoiled the fun a bit. I felt it was difficult to believe, even photographs can be superstitious. Honestly speaking, I do not know how much truth there is in this illogical belief but I do not dare to test it. After reading this, will you still dare to have your photograph to be taken with two other people? The number three is also taboo among cigarette smokers. On occasions I have seen a group of people lighting up their cigarettes only to a maximum of two persons per lighted match. Actually the light is slowly extinguished after two persons and then person number three will use a new match. This I have to define as the belief that maybe some tragedy will strike the third person who receives a lighted match. Well, here is another belief not to be challenged. When you are having a baby, there are some beliefs especially for the Chinese pregnant ladies such as: Don't use glue when you are pregnant because it will cause a difficult birth. Another thing is if you strike an animal during pregnancy, the newborn child will look like that animal and behave like one. Remember that you should never praise a newborn baby because it will invite evil spirits and ghosts. A concave navel means a prosperous life. Usually old people will say that a baby with more than one hair crown will be mischievous and disobedient, whereas a baby with wide and thick ears will live prosperously.
STUDY SKILLS IN ENGLISH SSE 131 Before you get married, wedding clothes should be red and yellow or white. In contrast, wearing black and blue or gray will bring bad luck to the marriage. Another strong belief is couples with the same surname cannot marry; even if they are not related, they still belong to the same ancestry and never ever marry someone who is older or younger by 3 or 6 years because these will bring you back luck after you married.
The concept of Fengshui (which literally means 'wind water') refers to the mystical belief in the geographical positioning of material objects in the physical life in such a way as to be harmonious with the spiritual life as well. In other words, if your bedroom doorway faces a bathroom at the end of the hall, this may be bad 'fengshui' or bad luck because of geographical superstitions. Good Fengshui will definitely bring you a prosperous life; there are six main rules of Fengshui that you should be obeyed. First of all, the number of steps in a staircase should be even-numbered. Secondly, it is bad luck to have two room doors face each other. Thirdly, it is bad luck if your door or gate directly faces a road. Next, don't build your house facing...
References: to the past year are also avoided as everything should be turned toward the New Year and a new beginning.
If you cry on New Year 's Day, you will cry all through the year. Therefore, children are tolerated and are not spanked, even though they are mischievous. On New Year 's Day, we are not supposed to wash our hair because it would mean we would have washed away good luck for the New Year. Red clothing is preferred during this festive occasion. Red is considered a bright, happy color, sure to bring the wearer a sunny and bright future. It is believed that appearance and attitude during New Year 's sets the tone for the rest of the year. Children and unmarried friends, as well as close relatives are given "lai zi", little red envelopes with some cash money inside, for good fortune.
STUDY SKILLS IN ENGLISH SSE 131
For those most superstitious, before leaving the house to call on others, the Almanac should be consulted to find the best time to leave the home and the direction which is most auspicious to head out. The first person one meets and the first words heard are significant as to what the fortunes would be for the entire year. It is a lucky sign to see or hear songbirds or red-colored birds or swallows. It is considered unlucky to greet anyone in their bedroom so that is why everyone, even the sick, should get dressed and sit in the living room. Do not use knives or scissors on New Year 's Day as this may cut off fortune. While many Chinese people today may not believe in these do 's and don 'ts, these traditions and customs are still practiced. These traditions and customs are kept because most families realize that it is these very traditions, whether believed or not, that provide continuity with the past and provide the family with an identity.
Superstition seems to be created from our aversion to back luck and especially death. I know of a couple of friends who will never sleep with their feet facing the door. They tell me that only corpses lie down with their feet facing the door! Soon they will be carried out through that door. My friends said that they have no desire to be corpses yet. So where do your feet face when you sleep?
To avoid evil spirits, some people carry good-luck charms in their wallets. While some hang them on their doors, windows, walls and even inside their cars. How effective these things are not questioned. The point is not to take the risk of finding out.
STUDY SKILLS IN ENGLISH SSE 131
Some Chinese people consider it is a bad omen to see a black cat or to walk under a ladder. Yet others say that it is definitely bad too see a funeral in progress or to see a dead man. On the lighter side some will say it is bad to take a batch after a meal or to sill salt on the table. Millions of people avoid the number 13 like the plague. They will not sleep in room 13, or go to the thirteenth floor or have anything to with the number 13. However others swear that 13 is their lucky number. As for me I tend to agree with the latter group.
Now that you have read about some superstitions, do you believe them? If you do not, will you be brave enough to challenge them? It takes a brave man to challenge any of them. Honestly speaking, I am not dare to challenge them because I am not that brave.
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