Superstition – Vietnamese

It’s unlucky to have a turtle as a pet.

My informant first heard of this superstition when she was around 6 years old.  My informant wanted a turtle as a pet but her parents refused to let her have one.  Growing up as a child, my sister wanted a turtle as a pet.  However, because of what my mother’s parents told her, my sister could not have a turtle as pet.  My sister did not understand why she could not have a turtle since it would not be that hard for her to take care of it.  It would not be nearly as hard for her to take care of a pet turtle as a pet dog.

My mother explained to my sister that in the Vietnamese culture, having a turtle as pet is seen as bringing bad luck to the family and to the house.  A turtle in the Vietnamese culture is seen as slow and sluggish.  Since it seems as if turtles lack energy, it is believed that if a turtle is in a person’s house then the house will not be filled with cheerfulness and joy.  The house and family will not be filled with excitement and laughter.  Instead, it is believed that struggle will come upon the family.  The turtle will bring it’s gloominess to the family.  It is believed that having a pet with more energy is better for the family.  That is why many Vietnamese families have dogs, cats, or rabbits as pets.  These animals are more energetic and will bring more luck to the family.  These pets are seen as fortunate animals to have in the house.