Posted by: sea2stars | November 7, 2009

Taiwanese Superstitions

So I thought you would like to hear about some of the superstitions that Taiwanese people have. The Taiwanese people are very concerned with ghosts. The island is so small that they feel that many buildings are built on burial sites. So many of their superstitions are about ghosts.

1. The number 4 is unlucky, just like number 13 in america, hotels, hospitals, ect. ect. don’t have a 4th floor.

2. When a women is pregnant she should not use scissors, knifes, or any cutting objects, for fear that she will cut the angle that is protecting her baby. They believe that the clef lip is due to a women using a scissors during her pregnancy.

3. I don’t know why, but they believe you have an invisible fire on each shoulder, so you should not tap anyone on the shoulder from behind because if they look quickly they could blow out one of the fires (which apparently is a bad thing).

4. You should not go swimming in the ocean because the ghosts will take you out to sea. If you die in the same place at sea, as the ghost died, then you will take their place and the ghost can then move on to the next life.

5. If two people were engaged to be married and one of them passed away before they were able to be married then they will have a ghost wedding. This is where the person that is still alive marries the ghost of the person who died. They do this so that the ghost can fulfilled its purpose and can then move on.

6. If you find money on the street you should not pick it up because it might belong to a ghost that has died an untimely death. If you pick up the money and it belongs to a ghost of the opposite sex that means you have to marry the ghost.

7. You should not write anyones name in red because that means they are going to die. I had one of my students who was mad at me and threatened me by saying “I’m going to get out my red pen.” I’m sure this is highly inappropriate for their culture, but I found it rather humorous.

8. In America when we want someone to come to us we use our index finder and curl it towards us repeatedly. In Taiwanese culture curling your index finger means death. They say 1, 7, 0 (for the position your finger makes as you curl it). 1 means you are healthy, 7 means you are old or unhealthy, and 0 means death. It can mean someone has died or if you curl your finger at someone who is alive it means that they will die. At first it was hard to not use this gesture to get my kids to come to me but I have learned to wave them towards me instead.

9. You should not whistle at night because the ghost will find you and then follow you around.

10. When you go to a hotel you should knock before entering so that the ghosts will leave the room.



  1. I like the ghost wedding the best.

  2. Wow. These are really interesting. I might have to carry a red pen around with me…just in case.

  3. Is there a supperstition regarding when kids start school

    • Not that I can remember. If you know a superstition regarding that I’d love to hear it!

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