Folk Belief – Chinese

“Noodles are a sign of longevity”

Ashley learned this superstition on the morning of her 7th birthday when her mom handed her a bowl of noodles to eat rather than the traditional eggs and bacon. When she commented on this change, her mom explained that noodles were a sign of longevity, and that it was custom for people to eat noodles on their birthday each year.  In China, it is believed that eating noodles will bring health and good luck upon the person for the following year and ensure him a long life.  The long and even noodles endow a long and consistent life without pauses or struggles to the eater.  Therefore, it is considered bad luck for an individual to cut the noodle strands while eating them.  He must instead consume the entire strands without breaking them.

This idea is similar to the belief that exists in Korea.  Long noodles represent a long and healthy life while characterizing consistent times.  Just as in China, where individuals eat noodles on their birthday, noodles play a significant role on birthdays in Korea.  In Korean tradition, gifts are endowed upon a child on his first birthday ranging from creativity to prosperity.  Several items representing different gifts, among them noodles, are placed in front of the child, and the child is given the chance to grasp one of these items.  If he picks up the bunch of noodles, it is believed that he will live a long and healthy life.  Therefore, the idea persists, in Korean culture as well as Chinese, that noodles are symbols of longevity and consistency.