Folk Belief- China

Belief: Never give shoes, watches, and clocks as presents to someone

The informant learned the above Chinese folk belief from her mother, around the time that she “first started give presents,” which was about the age of 12. The item is to be performed “any time you’re going to give a gift.” The informant views this belief as “embedded” into her life, claiming that she “gets paranoid” about receiving these items as presents, since the belief was reinforced “so many times and for so long.”

Though the informant stated that giving the above items as presents is considered bad luck for the recipient according to this Chinese folk belief, she was uncertain why. Simply not giving these items as gifts to others serves here as a protection, as do many forms of folk belief, against bad omens. While the informant didn’t seem to know much about the reasoning behind this item, it was clear that, as with most folk beliefs, the belief was a product of her social circumstances and formed a part of her identity as Chinese, even though she lives in Australia.