Superstitions Fly as Chinese Reel from a Bad (Luck) Year

The Christian Science Monitor‘s Peter Ford takes a look at Chinese superstitions in light of the country’s recent woes and the upcoming Olympic Games:

Chinese popular culture is rich with symbolism: It is customary to eat long noodles on your birthday, for example, because they signify long life.

Words that sound like one another, and dates, have an especially powerful attraction; September 18 is a popular day to open a business because the Chinese word for that date “jiu yi ba” (nine one eight) sounds like the phrase meaning “get rich quick.”

August 8 has been regarded as a particularly auspicious date, both for its numbers and for the fact that the Olympic Games, a matter of intense pride to most Chinese, will open on that day. Beijing hospitals say they are expecting a spike in births that day, according to the state-run press, even if it means an even higher number than normal of C-section deliveries.

Parents of prospective “Olympic babies,” however, laid their plans before doubts set in about just how lucky the number 8, or even the Games themselves, actually are.


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