Breaking Noodles

The informant shared this piece when I told them about this project and asked if they knew any folklore. The setting was casual, and the informant is of Taiwanese and African descent.


Can you explain the superstition behind breaking noodles?


“Um… when you’re cooking noodles, it’s bad luck to break them. Because, um in like Asian cultures… noodles represent longevity or long life so… if you break them, you’re cutting your life short so to speak.“


Variations of this superstition can be found across multiple cultures. For example, an old Chinese food superstition is that cutting, or biting off noodles as you eat them during the New years is bad luck for the same reasons as noted above. One can also draw connections to the Fates of Greek Mythology, where life is represented by a string; the third sister cuts the string to mark when the person will die.


An argument can also be made that this is representative of homeopathic magic, as the noodles represent life.