Superstition – Chinese

After a funeral you have to go to somewhere else before you go home so the spirits don’t follow you home. I think it’s like a Chinese thing – like a superstition.

Wilson explained that he has had to stop by another location before heading home after every funeral he has ever attended with his parents. He believes that Chinese people generally believe this. His interpretation of the belief is that the purpose of the extra stop is to “throw off the spirits.” This idea can be considered more of a folk belief rather than a superstition because it is a belief that has not been scientifically proven to be true but it is not tied to magic and does not involve either looking for signs in the universe or reversing something that has been broken. His deeming it a superstition shows how closely related these terms are and how people generally use the terms superstition, belief, and magic interchangeably.

This belief reveals that regardless of the ties that the people have to the deceased, they do not want the spirit to follow them or stay with them. This goes along with the concept that people are supposed to move on in the afterlife rather than linger among and shadow the living. There is also a fear of the spirits that drives people to continue this practice. Wilson mentioned that any place will suffice. For example, his parents and he have stopped by a supermarket before, a Starbucks, and simply anything convenient at the time. In Sunnyvale, CA where he was raised, there are plenty of convenient places to visit instead of leading the spirit home with them.