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The Chinese Culture: Superstitions about Marriage, Luck and Death

Last Updated on 2023/04/19

China is among the largest and most popular places in Asia. Like other native Asians, the Chinese people have an admirable cultural heritage. They adore their traditions, superstitions, and customs so much that they apply them to all aspects of life. The Chinese have unique superstitions and customs for marriage, death, medicine, and other branches of life. 

They observe these cultures in their country and beyond. Some Chinese communities living abroad and in urban areas have abandoned some traditions. However, true traditionalists abide by all their customs. We will discuss three parts of Chinese culture in this piece. 

Chinese marriage customs and traditions

Marriage and family are the focal points of many global cultures, and the Chinese are no exception. A marriage institution entails a woman leaving her family to live with her husband’s parents and relatives. She becomes her husband’s possession once the couple finalizes the marriage rituals. 

A few decades ago, the Chinese valued arranged marriages. It is when parents choose a girl for their son to marry. Modern Chinese men choose their brides without involving their parents. Even if a couple decides to marry, they must report the affair to the parents. 

A Chinese wedding undergoes a series of steps before happening, making it time-consuming and expensive. The stages of a Chinese wedding are: 

  • A couple reporting their intentions to marry. 
  • The bridegroom’s parents investigate the bride’s character, family, and social status.
  • Arranging a meeting between parents and older relatives from both sides.
  • An older aunt or a female relative from the groom’s side handles marriage negotiations.
  • Holding an engagement ceremony if a marriage will occur later.
  • Carrying out an official wedding ceremony to declare the couple man and wife. 

The Chinese strongly focus on marriage and family, with marriage traditions involving the bride leaving her family to live with her husband’s relatives. Arranged marriages were common in the past, but modern Chinese men now choose their own brides, though they still involve their parents.

Chinese superstitions about luck

Chinese superstitions about luck

Chinese are some of the most loyal one-armed bandit gambling fans. They believe that some things bring luck and other misfortunes. When going to a gambling house, many Chinese gamblers carry their superstitions. They will be keen to apply only the customs that bring luck to one’s situation. Below is a summary of Chinese superstitions that bring luck or bad luck to a gambling experience.

Books 

No Chinese can dare carry a book to a casino or peruse one. Another word for “book” in Chinese culture is “lose.” No one goes to a casino to lose. The Chinese cannot even entertain the idea when gambling. Sitting spot – A casino player will sit anywhere in a casino house if they are not Chinese. But, if a Chinese enters the room, they will find a sitting position in an area that faces a door. They will also look for an empty place on the west side of the house. Chinese believe strongly in Feng Shui. 

Numbers 

Some numbers bring bad luck and others good fortune in Chinese society. If a Chinese notices an eight in a casino, they will gamble more confidently than if they find a four. Number eight and the Chinese word for prosperity sound similar. In contrast, number four shares a meaning with the Chinese word for death. In Las Vegas, most hotels have floors that begin with other numbers except four. The Chinese will not use casino floors that have a four in them to avoid losses. 

Red 

Red is the favorite color for Chinese people. They view red as a color of luck and happiness. It is against Chinese customs to make red a theme color for sad events like burials. They will not dress their dead in red clothes to avoid them turning into ghosts. Instead, the Chinese use red themes in entertaining and happy ceremonies. So, a Chinese gambler will wear a red garment when visiting a casino to attract luck. They believe the red color will make them prosperous. 

Avoid intercourse and wash your hands 

A Chinese person will not engage in sexual intercourse before visiting a casino. In their culture, men and women can convert misfortune into good fortune by washing their hands. Hence, the Chinese will wash their hands before playing a casino game. They will repeat it if they start losing in that game. When one starts winning, one must not touch their hands with water.

Chinese superstitions on colorsMeaning
WhiteMourning/ death
GreenInfidelity
BlackSecrets, darkness
RedHappiness

It’s important to be mindful of these cultural beliefs and superstitions when interacting with Chinese individuals or visiting China. Showing respect and understanding of their customs can help to build stronger relationships and avoid any unintentional offense.

Chinese funeral traditions 

The Chinese people find the death of a loved one sad. They have funeral rites and customs exercised based on some factors. For instance, the Chinese hold funerals according to the cause of the death and the late person’s social status, age, and marital status. If the deceased were a young man or woman, their body must stay in the morgue till burial. This is to prevent older people from paying respect to the younger person. Also, parents cannot pray for their dead unmarried, and childless son. There is no wake for such a person in the family home. 

The Chinese people bury babies in silence because they are the youngest members of society. If a senior person was a wealthy and respected person in society, they will receive the most expensive last respect. The Chinese make a coffin early if a person is extremely sick and weary. Their coffin has a unique shape; only the undertaker can bring it home. They must also run the burial ceremony. 

The Chinese people remove mirrors from the walls and other surfaces to ensure they do not reflect the coffin. They believe that seeing a reflection of a coffin in mirrors can trigger another death in the family. The Chinese people cover their deities with red paper to hide them from the dead. 

The Chinese community has many other rituals surrounding death and marriage. They also have Chinese superstitions and customs in other aspects of life. You can learn more about their cultural heritage by reading Chinese history books, watching related movies, or visiting museums and other tourist landmarks during a trip.

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