China guide head superstitions

While many Chinese people today may not believe, these Chinese superstitions (by the name of “traditions” and “customs”) are still practiced. They are kept because most families realize that these traditions, whether believed or not, provide continuity with the past and provide the family with an identity.

Superstitions are an essential part of Chinese culture. They provide many insights on the practices, attitudes, principles, and religious beliefs of Chinese culture. A report on the effect of superstitions on the nation’s youth confirmed that 85% of China’s middle school students have actually had their fortune told. More than 1 in 3 Chinese people today believe in fortune telling.

if you follow ALL these “traditions”, you will get nowhere!


RED Red is the color of blood or life and will bring happiness, wealth, fame, and good luck.
BLACK Black is the color of feces and is associated with evil, disaster and bad fortune.
WHITE White is the color of mother’s milk. It symbolizes moderation, purity, honesty & life, balancing red & black.
BLUE Wearing blue will bring bad luck to a marriage.
GREY Wearing gray will also bring bad luck to a marriage.
GREEN Green symbolizes money. Buildings, banks and restaurants are often painted in green and red.
YELLOW Yellow symbolizes royalty & power of the throne. The first Emperor of China was known as the Yellow Emperor.


Like in Western culture, each number has their unique meaning in Chinese culture, where numbers can bring good luck and fortune to their life. Some are thought to be lucky and some are unlucky according to the pronunciation of the number and the similarity of it with another word.

Lucky Unlucky
0 Means everything or nothing. It is limitless. Chinese people think everything begins with 0.
1 (yī) is used to name the winner. It also has the meaning of beginning, loneliness & single.
2 means ‘double’, ‘twinned’ and ‘again’. (all good things come in pairs) can also describe someone as stupid and reckless.
3 3 is lucky as it sounds similar to the character of ‘birth’ (生 shēng). In 2004, a Beijing man paid US$215,000 for his lucky cell phone number: 133-3333-3333
4 4 also has a good meaning as it has the same pronunciation with the word 发 (fortune) in Chinese. The 4 number is four as it sounds like the Chinese word for death (死). Many buildings in China don’t have a 4th floor. Called “tetra-phobia,” or fear of the number 4, means most building skip any floors with the number, such as 14, 24, 34 and all 40–49 floors.
5 Sometimes lucky since there are 5 blessings in China – wealth, happiness, longevity, luck and prosperity. 5 (wŭ), can be seen as also meaning wŏ, “me,” or wú, “not,” “nothing.” This gives 5 a slightly negative connotation.
6 6 (liù) may be regarded as both, a lucky and unlucky.
7 7 which has the meaning of “gone: and can signify 欺 (cheat) .
8 The luckiest number is 8 because its Chinese word also means “prosper”.
9 9 (jiŭ) is lucky, since it represents “long-lasting.” (in Cantonese sounds like the word “sufficient”), 9 is reserved for the Emperor’s use in the north.
14 By far the most feared number. The combination of the words, shí = 10 and sì = 4, mean “accidents” or, when both numbers are read separately, yāo sì, “will die.”
88 88 is considered particularly lucky because it symbolized the “double happiness” characters.
514 A terrible number in personal use, 514 is pronounced the same way as “I will die,” wŭ yāo sì.
666 “666” is lucky as it sounds close to the words meaning “things are going smoothly.”
8888 At a 2010 government auction, a car license plate featuring the lucky number 8 was sold for RMB 1.314 million (US$ 200k). The plate”A8888Q” was worth more than the luxury car.
~ Basically, the more times a number is repeated one after another, the more potent its effect will be.
! Even numbers are lucky Odd numbers are unlucky

Number sequences composed of different numbers may also have positive or negative connotations, for example, 168, yāo liù bā, can be translated as “want smooth prosperity,” or “road to prosperity.” 518 can be read as “I will prosper.” Other variations using the same numbers include: 5189, “I will prosper for a long time” and 516289, “I will get on a long, smooth prosperous road.”


For many Chinese, the almanac should be consulted to find the best time to do important things. The almanac will tell if the day is a good day or bad day to have a funeral, sweep the graves of ancestors, worship the dead or move an ancestor’s grave; start construction, move into a new house, visit friends or even travel north; get a haircut or cultivate plants and so on.

  • Clipping toenails or fingernails at night is bad luck; the person will be visited by a ghost.
  • If a dog howls continuously at night, this means death.
  • Hearing a crow cawing between 3 and 7 am means the hearer will receive gifts; hearing a crow caw between 7 and 11am means rain and wind; and between 11am and 1pm means quarrels.
  • If a man’s ears burn between 11pm and 1pm, there will be harmony between him and his wife; if they burn between 1 and 3 in the afternoon, a guest will soon arrive.
  • The Beijing Olympic opening ceremony started exactly at 8 seconds and 8 minutes past 8pm on August 8, 2008. (8:8:8, on 8.8.2008) This guaranteed that the Games would be carried out under the most auspicious of circumstances.
  • 9,000 Chinese couples got married on August 8, 2008 in Beijing, more than doubling the previous single-day marriage record.
  • November 11th (11.11) is the singles day in China, as the date has four ‘1’ which stand for single.


Faux pas derived from Mandarin pronunciation

  • Giving someone a timepiece, such as a clock or watch, as a gift is a very unlucky faux pas. Traditional superstitions regard this as counting the seco