Superstitions across cultures

Superstitions, beliefs and customs across cultures


Slides of the presentation we had to do in PolyU , Honk Kong, during our summer exchange programme.

Transcript of Superstitions across cultures

Page 1: Superstitions across cultures

Superstitions, beliefs and customs across cultures

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Alexander Crespo Paunero Koyelia Sirkar Maria Toner Oana Popescu

Group Members

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近义词: folklore; old wives' tale; tradition; blind faith; blind worship

(English – Chinese Dictionary)

Superstitions have their roots centuries ago, when our ancestors tried to explain mysterious circumstances, preserve traditions or share tacit knowledge.

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Romanian Chinese


To feel itchy on the left hand (you will receive money soon)Throw coins into fountains

To spend 88, 99 or 66 $Right eye blinking (you will receive money)


To spend money on Mondays or on 1st of JanuaryTo wear a wallet with no money in itTo feel itchy on your right hand

To avoid to spend 44 $

Left eye blinking (money loss)

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Romanian Chinese


Horses, especially white ones, are creatures of magic and luck. The spider is considered the messenger of eventsWhite cat is sign of luck


UnluckyBlack cat is the symbol of evil and should be avoided Crow


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Indian Chinese Romanian

Lucky Red Red, White Red, White

Unlucky White Black Black


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Molière (Jean Baptiste de Poquelin) died in the scene wearing yellow clothes. Since then, yellow is also the colour of bad luck for the actors in western countries.

Yellow is associated to the sulfur of the Hell by christian tradition. In the 13th century the Pope Innocent III banned this colour from the Catholic liturgy.

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Indian Chinese Romanian Spanish

Lucky 7 8 7 -

Unlucky 8 4 13 13


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13 and 666 represent the numbers of the bad luck in Christian cultures.In particular Friday the 13th is believed to be the day of the bad luck in many countries.

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Indian Chinese & Romanian

Spanish & Irish

-Sneezing before starting something important is a bad omen.

-Someone is talking about the “sneezer”.

-Soul tries to escape the body- “Bless you”, “Jesus”


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Indian Chinese

If a dog howls at night it is a bad omen.


A cat crossing the road is considered unlucky.

In China the older and uglier a cat is, the luckier it is.


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Indian Chinese

A the time of Vidayi (leaving the house after marriage) the girl throws rice and other grains and her brothers and everybody else in the house catches it in some cloth it symbolises the girl’s wish that even after she leaves the house, her family should have sufficient and should remain prosperous.

Throwing rice confetti at the newlyweds will bring them prosperity all their life.

If it rains during the wedding, it means prosperity and happiness for the newlyweds. (Monsoon weddings)



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Irish Mythology

Learnt Observation

Irish Superstitions


Book of Invasions 11th Century

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Son of God

Holy Spirit



Christianity Taoism

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Tao Hua Yuan“Peach Blossom Spring”

Tír na nÓg“Land of the Youth”

Pre Tang Dynasty(pre- 618)

Tao Qian

11th Century

Book of Invasions

Ireland China

Peaches: longevity & prosperity

Peach Blossom Festival (Spring)

Leprechauns – Luprachán:guarding treasure

Lughnasadh festival (Aug)

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IMPLICATIONS• Superstitions means to believe in spite of evidence or without

evidence; to believe that the world is governed by chance or caprice; to disregard the true relation between cause and effect; to put thought, intention and design back of nature; to believe in force apart from substance, or in substance apart from force; to believe in miracles, spells and charms, in dreams and prophecies; to believe in the supernatural. Thousands of persons believe in lucky and unlucky days, numbers, signs and jewels (Ingersoll, 2010).

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References• MacMillan Dictionary• Oxford Dictionary• English – Chinese Dictionary• Ingersoll – 2010• Understanding South Asian culture compiled by Caritas Youth and Community

Service• Sources of Chinese tradition by W.M.Theodore De Bary , Wing-tsit Chan, Chester Tan• Hindu manners , customs and ceremonies by Abbe J.A. Dubosis• Indian Civilazation , the Formative period by S.C.Malik• India-An illustrated history by Prem Kishore and Anuradha Kishore Ganpati• Irish language and culture by Francesca Coles•••

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