The other evening, I had an intermediate conversation class with a few students and I chose to focus on superstitions. This topic is always full of fascinating new items and I love boggling the students’ minds with things like the angel on the shoulder and salt in the devil’s eyes. It’s pretty selfish, though; I get more out of it!
We recently celebrated Dragon Boat Festival, which actually has nothing (spiritually) to do with dragons and boats. One tradition or superstition Oscar told me about is bathing between 11am and 1pm on the day, which washes away bad luck. Additionally, if you save the water, it won’t get mildewy and gross. She said she’s been testing it for a few years now, but she couldn’t tell me if the water had a purpose.
A brand new student told me that a friend told her that cutting your fingernails at night is asking for trouble, rather like stepping on a crack, I think. She also said she had heard that seeing a 2-headed snake means death is coming, which makes since, since you’re probably overdosing.
The guy in the class told us about hanging dead cats in trees. As far as I can tell, it’s a way to get the cat leveled up for its next life (since they have nine). He said doesn’t happen as much any more, since people take them to shrines to be dealt with now, along with dogs that would have previously been thrown in the river. I have never seen that kind of shrine, though, so I’m wondering if he chose the wrong word…
Oscar gave us one final one: on Chinese New Year’s Day, you mustn’t call everyone down to breakfast, but rather let them come down as they will. This preserves prosperity and fortune, I think.
The problem with my data-gathering: it was really hard to differentiate between traditions and superstitions. This class was only intermediate, and some were lower intermediate at that. However, it’s always a good time, especially when you finish off talking about the differences between ghosts and demons!