Have you heard of any of these quirky Hong Kong superstitions? Perform these acts and be prepared for misfortune, bad luck, unhappy relationships and more.
While Hong Kong is renowned for being one of the top markets for finance, it also has a history deep-rooted in tradition and Chinese superstition, and there are times when there seems to be a combative dynamic between modern lifestyle and contemporary culture and heritage. Behind the beautiful Chinese temples, there are ancient stories and the markets in Kowloon are surrounded by many fortune tellers. Find out quirky Hong Kong superstitions that don’t seem to make much modern sense but have withstood the test of time.
Hong Kong Superstitions
1. Number Four
The number four is considered an unlucky number, because it sounds the same as death in both Cantonese and Mandarin. To this day, in some apartment buildings, you won’t able to find the fourth floor because of this exact reason. This is probably one of the most well-known Hong Kong superstitions, and for good reason.
2. Leftover rice
A popular one for adults trying to get children to eat, make sure you finish everything in your bowl down to the last grain of rice. Each grain of rice left behind will indicate how many acne scars and spots your future spouse will have.
3. Chopsticks in your bowl
Make sure you never stick chopsticks upright in your food, especially rice, as it resembles incense sticks that are used to burn and pay respects for the dead. Not only will it bring you bad luck but will make you appear to have terrible table manners.
4. Cutting your birthday cake
When you cut into your birthday cake, make sure not to cut to the very bottom of the cake, because if you do, you won’t get married.
5. The gift of a pair of shoes
Don’t ever purchase shoes as a present. Firstly, because shoes in Cantonese sounds like a sigh, so thereby gifting them implies to the person you’re giving the gift, that they are a burden. Secondly, the practical use for shoes is to walk or run in them, so giving your giftee a pair of shoes means they will leave you. Lastly, shoes are stepped on, and can be used to step on others, symbolising poor relationships and bad luck.
6. Clocks as presents
Gifting a clock is incredibly bad luck, as in Chinese the word sounds similar to attending and paying respects at a funeral. Presenting your giftee a clock especially on their day of birth is considered inauspicious and a bad omen.
7. Never bring home a stranger’s umbrella or open it indoors
Umbrellas are known to carry ghosts, because spirits tend to be attracted to shadows. So, avoid opening an umbrella indoors, as the shadow from the umbrella acts as an entrance for ghosts to enter your doors and don’t ever pick up a stranger’s umbrella and bring it home.