Do you believe in superstitions? I don’t really, but that doesn’t mean I don’t follow after some of the rules long setup by the elder generation. For example, I don’t wash my hair on the full moon days (especially days like the full moon days of Kasone, Thadingyut, and Tazaungmone), because it’ll cause bad luck. Not that I care about these beliefs, but I avoid these days because I would never get to have a peaceful day if I did so.

Also, after I clip my nails, I have to throw them away from outside the house. When I was younger, I was at my uncle’s house and my aunt caught me throwing my nails in the waste bin. She told me this story about a thief who went into a barn to steal some rice. He broke his fingernail and it went into a pile of grains. So he tried to find it in the pile and was caught later by the owner. The owner asked him why he didn’t ran away and the thief told him that he was looking for the fingernail as he didn’t want the owner to go into poverty because of it. So, the owner forgive him and set him free. So fingernails and toenails in the house bring poverty to the family. I didn’t believe any of this crap, but just to be on the safe side, I always throw them out of the windows. Sometimes, they land right back in the yard, but so far we aren’t in poverty.

Growing up with my uncle and aunts isn’t easy. I was taught many things, including table manners like don’t sing while you are eating ‘cuz only beggars sing while they are eating, and if you want a second helping, always leave a small portion of rice in your plate before you put in more rice, etc. Sometimes these things just stuck with me. One time, I saw my student singing while eating and I told him not to do that. He asked me why and I had to bit my tongue to not blurt out that only beggars sing while they are eating.

Another superstition I remember is ‘don’t play hide and seek after sunset because the devil will take the hiders.’ I never really believed that at all.

These are a couple of superstitions I got off from

Don’t go underneath a staircase. You will loose your will power.

Don’t go under a pole or rope, where women used to hang-dry their longyis. You will loose your will power.
(I hate that one. My father don’t even like it when I hang my jeans or dresses on the long pole. That’s why I only do that when he’s not around :P)

Don’t leave a shoe or a slipper up-side-down. It’ll cause bad luck.

Don’t keep a broken glass or a mirror in homes. Replace the window panes asap if broken.

Don’t wash your hair within a week after a funeral in the neighborhood.

Don’t hit the pot with a ladle after you stir the curry. It’s like hitting your parents’ head.

Don’t hit 2 lids of pots and pans against each other. A tiger may bite you. (Hard to find any tigers in Yangon except at the zoo lolz)

Don’t feed someone with the palm upward. The food might cause you disorder.

Don’t clip your nails at night. Ghosts don’t like that.

Don’t take kids to dark places. Ghosts may posses them.

Carrying some hairs of an elephant tail will avoid evil.

FYI: ‘will power’ is difficult for me to explain in English but ‘will power’ is mostly associated with men, not women. Women are degraded compared to men in terms of will powers. I will not go into details about this issue.


7 thoughts on “Superstitions

  1. Ah.. The shoes thing. I am told not to leave shoes flipped over because your parents will get divorced..Although I only have one parent now, I still flip the shoe up if I see it flipped

  2. As Burmese I do believe in Superstitions. Most of them are common sense to prevent or protect you from general danger, such as going under the ladder. Some are pure nonsense. If you can find the reason why, you may agree with it but I myself do not care if women underclothing are hang above. If you travel in a jungle and carry Elephant’s hair some dangerous animals might mistaken you from elephant and might leave you alone… Good topic and good fingernail story too. Anyway I never cut my hair on Monday, Friday and Saturday which came from one of the saying; “you should not cut your hair on your day the you were born, Friday and Monday”

    • saying; “you should not cut your hair on your day the you were born, Friday and Monday”

      My father once said that I should not wash or cut my hair on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays because it’s something related to Buddha. Although I’m a Friday born, I still wash my hair if I’m in the mood.

  3. After talking to a cousin about old tradtions and superstitious interpretations, I was just thinking about how superstitious Burmese are. I grew up with my grandma and aunts so some of these superstitious things are stuck with me too even though I don’t really believe in those. “Don’t hit 2 lids of pots and pans against each other. A tiger may bite you.” <–I think this is only to prevent broken lids as those pots may be made of clay or something breakable in the old days. That "will power" thing for men has always bothered me. I had seen a family who used separate irons for men's and women's clothing. I thought it was pretty wasteful and retarded idea. Anyway, just my thoughts. Thanks for sharing this post. I love your blogs.

  4. Pingback: Global Voices Online » Myanmar supertitions

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