Superstitions – Vietnam

“The number 9 is lucky.  If a street is directly pointing to a house, that house will have bad luck or someone in the family might die.  Running water and fountains in the house are good luck, and if your plants die, usually bad luck will come, and business won’t stay as prosperous.  On the first three days of the Vietnamese New Year, don’t sweep the house because we believe if you sweep stuff and throw things away you’ll lose money.”

All having to do with the household and the Chinese concept of feng shui, these superstitions emphasize Vietnamese cultural values of harmony, luck, and prosperity.  Passed on to my mother from her own mother (as well as other relatives and family friends) throughout her childhood and adult years, these folk beliefs reveal much about the Vietnamese culture and the people’s lifestyles.  My mother explained that when buying a house or just maintaining it, these superstitions are seriously considered, and individuals act accordingly.  For instance, a house with an address number whose digits add up to the number nine is thought to be especially lucky and a fine place to live.  Then, once the house is bought, the inside must also be taken care of to ensure success and future happiness.  Consequently, these superstitions demonstrate the importance of the home and the emphasis on preparing and looking out for signs of the future.  In this way, it is interesting to note that Dundes’ argument that America is much more future-oriented than other countries and societies is not as applicable here; followers of the superstitions will or will not commit certain actions based on their beliefs of those actions’ direct correlation to the future.  Now, a follower of these folk beliefs might decide to buy a small indoor fountain just to follow the superstition and hope that the decision to purchase one was the right choice.  In turn, this demonstrates the influence of superstitions on cultures, especially the Vietnamese.  Superstitions constitute a large chunk of people’s identities, and they can act as a sort of system of guidelines for those living the Vietnamese lifestyle.

Annotation: Too, Lillian.  Lillian Too’s Easy-to-use Feng Shui: 168 Ways to Success.  Sterling Publishing Company, Inc., 1999, pg. 75.