Superstition – Chinese

Not finishing every grain of rice will result in not finding a husband.

Christina’s parents and grandparents moved over from Taiwan to Los Angeles and brought over many superstitions to pass on.  Even though Christina was born in the United States, she is still acquainted with these superstitions and follows it in front of her family.  At the dinner table, she remembers that she could not leave the table until she finished every single grain of rice in her rice bowl.  If she did not, then her mother would always say that she would not be able to find a husband in the future.  Christina also recalls being a particularly picky eater; she proved her mother wrong when she got married, despite the fact that she did not always finish her rice.  Christina simply thinks that this superstition was a tactic for her parents to make her eat more and to not be wasteful with her food, but does not think that it is true.

This approach toward Chinese superstitions shows that the second-generation children do not fully understand and accept their parents’ beliefs.  This is very common with the “Americanized” children who think that the parents make up beliefs to get their way.  However, this superstition can be explained in two ways.  First, each grain of rice in the bowl can be symbolic of the selection of husbands in the future.  When one is picky about which person, then one will never find a suitable husband.  Second, the Chinese like to be frugal and to not throw away leftovers.  In this manner, the idea of wasting the rice in the bowl is equivalent to not being a good wife.  Therefore, a husband will never come.  Regardless of the origin of this superstition, this belief focuses more on the values of the Chinese culture. If one does not find a good husband, it is equivalent to having bad luck, emphasizing the value that the Chinese puts on a good husband and family.  This superstition points out that the Chinese Americans do not always accept the beliefs of their culture, as well as the importance of a husband to a young woman.