Tag Archives: Chinese Customs


Chopsticks manner: Three pieces long and two pieces short

Mainpiece: I was helping prepare the dining table someday. The informant told me don’t put the chopsticks uneven in length When Chinese people are having dinner, puting the chopsticks uneven in length means bad luck. We called it “三长两短/ three pieces long and two pieces short.” It represented “death”. Chinese people believe when some one… Continue Reading »

Haircut in the First Lunar Month Kills Your Uncle??

正月剪头死舅舅 Zhèng Yuè Jǐan Tóu Sǐ Jìu Jìu This is a Chinese saying that literally means “If you get hair cut in the first month of Chinese lunar calendar, your uncle (your mother’s brother) will die”.   Context: The collector and the informant were talking about weird Chinese sayings and customs heard from parents. The… Continue Reading »

Eggs on Dragon Boat Festival

Context: The collector was interviewing the informant (as MD, the collector’s mother) for folklores. After she told the collector a folklore about eggs, the informant came up with another folklore about eggs. This is a custom the informant practiced in her childhood.   MD: When I was a kid, we (she and her peers) would… Continue Reading »

Future Son-in-law and Poached Eggs

Context: The collector asked the informant (as MD) for some Shanghainese folklores. The informant is the mother of the collector.   MD: You know, when a couple in relationship want to make sure parents from each side agree with their marriage, they will visit the woman’s mother. When it is the first visit for the… Continue Reading »

The Nián Monster

Every year on the eve of the Chinese New Year, the nian monster (年獸; nián shòu) comes out from hiding and eats people. I was told as a child to behave, or the nian monster would catch you and eat you. It has the head of a lion but the body of an ox. After all… Continue Reading »