Grandmother’s Superstitions

Background Information: Elyse is a Junior at college, and she grew up in San Francisco, CA. Her grandmother is Chinese, and has lived in the United States from her 20s or 30s, according to Elyse. I interviewed Elyse about some of the superstitions her grandmother has.

Elyse: So, my grandma tells me this thing like, every time I go around to see her, what she does is she asks me to put my fingers together, kind of like a paddle, and then, you hold it up to the light, and if you have a lot of light coming through it, like a lot of holes in your fingers, it means that you lose money fast. And if your fingers are really tight-knit, it means you save money. So like, I have some little cracks, so that means that some of my money is going to leave through those.

Ankita: And she does this every time you see her?

Elyse: She’s like, can I see your hands, because she likes to read my palms every time I visit her, so she’ll be like, “oh, good hands”, and then she’ll tell me to put my hands together to check this one.

Ankita: Does she do this for everyone she meets?

Elyse: Sort of, she doesn’t do it for everyone, just like family or whatever. Like, it’s definitely not an actual science, and she’s not a palmist or anything either, but yeah…

Thoughts: It seems, from talking to Elyse, that her grandmother has many such superstitions that guide her everyday life. Many seem to be related to luck, prosperity and wealth, and these seem to be important to hold on to in Chinese culture. It is also interesting that her grandmother chooses to read the palms of her family and ensure that they are living by these superstitions as well, perhaps as a way of showing her care and concern for them.