Has My Marriage Made Me More Superstitious?

Chinese good luck cat waving
My Chinese husband told me I've become more superstitious since I married him. (photo by zettmedia)

Cíjiù yíngxīn (辞旧迎新,  farewell to the old, welcome the new). That’s what my Chinese husband said to me as we gathered the last of the dirty laundry to throw in the washing machines last night. We already scrubbed our entire apartment clean — I dusted, he vacuumed and washed all of the dishes. Now we wanted clean clothes too.

“You did this before?” he asked me as we walked to the laundry room.

“Nope, I never used to clean house for the New Year. Not before I met you.”

He smiled. “You’ve become more superstitious since you married me,” he said.

“Yeah, I guess so.”

I answered with ambivalence, but my actions spoke loud and clear. I was the one who suggested the laundry — John would have probably stopped after cleaning house. I wanted to make the eight-treasures rice for dessert on New Year’s Eve, because the words “eight” and “treasures” would promise us a more prosperous 2012. I bought the pork for the red-braised pork I cooked for John because it cost $8.08, an auspicious number. I even resolved to wear red, China’s most auspicious color, every single day from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Day (I wear a red shirt as I type this).

Maybe I cared even more for superstition because of our recent challenges. In 2012, John and I will still have to fight against the discrimination. There’s no guarantee John will get an internship next year — something he needs to graduate, something we both want because it means we can finally move away from here to a more diverse metropolitan area. I almost never pray, but I’ve caught myself in meditation towards the skies, asking a higher power to deliver us into a better life. So I couldn’t help but turn to superstitions like some extra insurance, just in case, even if that rational part of me knew better.

Will this improve our fortunes in 2012? Who knows? But every time I mention something else superstitious I’ve done, John busts out laughing and flashes me a huge smile. Which makes me think, maybe that’s the real magic in superstition — to make your husband a little happier during hard times.

Has your relationship or your marriage made you more superstitious? If so, how?

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23 thoughts on “Has My Marriage Made Me More Superstitious?

  • January 2, 2012 at 3:01 am
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    I grew up surrounded by superstition. One is the idea of the “evil eye” and trying not to jinx things. Another is mock spitting three times so one won’t get jinxed or knocking on wood three times; last are the day or minutes of the way one will spend December 31st, or I’m superstitious throughout the month of December, somehow thinking it will foreshadow the year to come.

    My sister is married to an American guy, and according to her, she turned him and his mother, somewhat into superstitious. The more he lives with her, the more he becomes a mixture of American and Russian and Jewish. (He says Oy sometimes, understands my family when we speak Russian, and celebrates Jewish holidays with us.) I honestly don’t know if I ever turned my Korean ex or anyone else I was with into Russian-Jewish mixture, but I highly doubt it.

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  • January 2, 2012 at 5:14 am
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    Pray to Jesus, He answers all prayers. 😉

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  • January 2, 2012 at 5:31 am
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    Just being engaged has made me more superstitious! I have yet to celebrate New Years Chinese style but now I am superstitious about four’s being bad, eights, nines and sixes being good. Also totally buying into the 上火 (shang huo) myths and beginning to feel like being cold will lead to being sick! What a superb blog post Mrs. Yangxifu! You have been my inspiration since day one and wishing you and your hubby all the best luck in the New Year!

    Reply
  • January 2, 2012 at 5:33 am
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    There may be something to be said for superstitions, if one does not go to the extreme. For example, if one feels that wearing red will bring good luck this already makes one feel better when one wears red even if it doesn’t bring one good luck. Or if one believes that number 8 is a lucky number and one therefore favours the number 8. Personally if I feel something is good for me, even if it appears superstitious to others, I will go for it. The very feel good vibe that one feels for going for something that one thinks is lucky won’t do any harm. In fact, it is likely to bring good results rather than bad ones. And certainly red and the number 8 are auspicious to the Chinese. So, instead of going for black or number 4 which are considered bad by the Chinese, I had rather go for red and number 8 and I don’t see any logic just to defy so called superstitions if to do so would only make one uneasy. It is what one believes in and feels comfortable with that is likely to bring about the desired results than not.

    Yes, it does seem that you are becoming more “superstitious”. But I would rather say that you are becoming more like a Chinese wife! Don’t worry, John will get that internship. Just keep positive. And that good luck cat – see, it is beckoning luck on its way! So, a Happy And Prosperous New Year to you and John!

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  • January 2, 2012 at 10:41 am
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    Yes, I’ve changed alot of things around my property from huge fountain to Koi pond in order to offset bad lucks and misfortunes. Have you tried crystals to push bad energy away from you and your home? Lesson #1 always learn from your mistakes. Lesson #2 be nice to people but not too kind where you tell every single things to others. Lesson #3 Can’t tell you guys.

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  • January 2, 2012 at 12:17 pm
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    I wish you the best for the new year, Jocelyn. Superstitions or not, I know we, as human, only understand a tiny bit of how the universe works its magic. Everything has a reason although, most of time, it is hard for us to see it. But, believe that this world is abundant with opportunities — it is up to us to pray/meditate/detect so that these opportunities can become reality to us.

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  • January 2, 2012 at 2:12 pm
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    I can honestly relate to this post. I am the same way with my husband. Happy new year! 🙂

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  • January 2, 2012 at 5:51 pm
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    No, no, my marriage hasn’t made me superstitious! Quite the opposite! I set off fireworks at Spring Festival because I enjoy it, not to scare of Nian. I’ll be wearing red underwear and a red belt this Spring Festival purely out of respect for local customs, not because I believe it’ll bring me luck. Really!

    Well, I do think that even the most rational of us have our superstitions, because as others have already said, there’s only so much we understand about the world, and that’s not much at all.

    And really, I don’t believe any of the Spring Festival superstitions I alluded to, but there’s a lot of value in keeping those traditions alive when they help create a sense of continuity and identity. But I think that my marriage and especially fatherhood has made me much less tolerant of superstition where that superstition does not add anything of value or may even be dangerous. And my wife replies that this stubbornness of mine is a typical Taurus trait. And I say, “Superstitious nonsense!”, and she replies, “See, Taurus!”

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  • January 2, 2012 at 8:40 pm
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    I do it too since I started dating my guy….Red cloths, shunning number 4, celebrating by cleaning for the new year. I think you just become accustomed to doing things the way the one you love would do them. I’ve even taught him a few things-like the meanings behind these things he does, he just did them b/c his parents did! It’s natural to think having good luck will bring positive changes…I 100% believe it helps.

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  • January 3, 2012 at 10:26 am
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    Good luck to you John & Jocelyn. May 2012 be the best ever. Thanks for all the posts.

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  • January 3, 2012 at 8:13 pm
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    Happy New Year!!! May new year spirit bring you luck and fortune.

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  • January 3, 2012 at 9:25 pm
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    @Jocelyn,
    if you want something to happen, you have to make your own luck. There are 3 types of people out there.
    1.Those that make things happen
    2.Those that wait for things to happen
    3.Those that simply ask “what happened ?”
    And superstition can mean different things to different people.

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  • January 3, 2012 at 9:46 pm
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    I’ll definitely be praying for you and your husband, Jocelyn. Though I’m not particularly superstitious, I do believe a new year brings fresh starts. I hope with this New Year, things will turn around for you and John. Have a great Chinese New Year as well!

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  • January 4, 2012 at 2:33 am
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    [This comment has been removed because it contained hate speech]

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  • January 4, 2012 at 6:25 am
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    @Phil, are you talking science or are you talking gibberish? Or are you feverish? So, the only good to come out of white women marrying outside their race is the cleansing of the European stock? You need a tonic yourself, baby!

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  • January 4, 2012 at 8:21 am
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    There is no medicine to cure ignorance in people. In your heart, you know it’s not true already so why spread the nonsense. You like what you like and nothing can change that. If people still believe everything what you read on the internet is true, you deserve another degree in “world dumbest people” . Seriously man. We will be the judge.

    Reply
  • January 5, 2012 at 3:50 am
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    All the best for 2012 to Jocelyn, John and all the great readers who contribute so much with their comments. I get so much from reading this blog, I can’t possibly find the words to express just how much. Fairness and contentment for 2012, to all.

    Reply
  • January 5, 2012 at 10:26 am
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    The feelings you get out of cleaning your home and backyard are tremendous! The way you arrange your home is another feeling only you can describe. Throw that god damn last yr underwear and wash it :). If you like to gamble , make sure wear “red” underwear . Don’t come back losing your pants off ! lol. The feeling of good luck is very important. To me, having time to spend with FAMILIES and good friends and doing what I like is considered LUCKY already. With all the money in the world , the only thing you can’t buy is TIME and TIME is something we don’t have . Last thing to remember is to smile everyday. Just try and it’s very contagious. So don’t think successful people are lucky and happy all the time. They have their problems also.

    Bruce ” do you feel lucky? “

    Reply
  • Pingback:East Asia Blog Round-Up : 8/1/2012 | Eye on East Asia

  • January 8, 2012 at 12:50 am
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    Anything life changing like marriage can make us open our eyes a little.

    I think there are slight but significant differences between superstition and having faith in something greater than oneself.
    Nowadays, I say most people treat a lot of the superstitions in Chinese culture(s) as part of our way of community and identity as Chris said. Kind of like the 80% of people out there who go to Church and celebrate a few holidays, despite having very little or no affiliation with the faith. Kind of like that.

    Deep in the past, some of these superstitions did have some rational explanations (made sense at those times), but overtime a little of this or that got added or lost, and ended up as what we have today.

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  • January 8, 2012 at 9:34 am
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    In two weeks, it’s Chinese New Yr. It’s a perfect time to worship our ancestors . We can tell our ancestors to bless us . Tell our ancestors about our discriminations ,hardships, and sorrows. Your voice will be heard and all our transitions whether in business negotiations, education or family problems will go smoothly. With lots of money and success but without health ,families, friends and time , what’s the point of living?? I used to study some philosophy in college but I’m taking this to another level! You’re the captain of your own ship, you decide where you want to go and how far you should go . This is my metaphor. Let’s let go of the past so we can move to the future. If you’re a typical man or woman who holds to the past,the future won’t happen because you’re still in the past right now. I love to give hints to people . It’s very stimulating to me.

    Bruce

    Reply

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