Chinese Oddities and Superstitions

We wanted to share some Chinese oddities and superstitions we’ve discovered since we have been living in Suzhou, China…
We live on the 26th floor of our apartment building…well, we actually live on the 24th floor…the Chinese do not use number 13, like us, as it is considered bad luck…and they also do not use number 14.  14 is the odd one.  The reason they do not use it is because it contains a 4, which the word for four in Chinese sounds like the word for death, so 14 is not used.  However 4 is used and 24 is..go figure!  We read that the 4th floor in buildings is often rented for less because of the bad luck!  On the other side, 8 is considered very lucky.  You have to pay more to get 8 in your mobile phone number!
We often hear a lot of firecrackers going off-hundreds of them.  We were told this is a ceremony people do upon moving into a new apartment or house.  It is to scare away the evil spirits!
Fireworks occur here often and for no particular reason…each weekend usually,  On the way to work last Friday they were setting up fireworks on the bridge by the lake.  We asked someone what the occasion was, and he said, “This is China.  They don’t need an occasion!”  Each Friday and Saturday night at 7:30 & 8:30 there is a laser light show by the lake with big speakers and orchestra music.  So far some of the music we recognize is the Star Wars theme, the William Tell Overture  and the theme from Exodus.  We can see all this from our back window.
We were at another store Carrefour (another French chain) and there were these little kids rides like they have at stores in the US.  You know, like little cars, or horses, etc.  You put some coins in it.  The child sits on it and it moves and plays music while it’s on.  What was interesting about this is the music it was playing.  We heard “O Holy Night,” and “Christmas Tree” on the one that was in use!  Maybe this is a plan to proselytize Chinese through kiddie rides!
Another Chinese superstition is that evil spirits lurk everywhere.  So it is important to not trap them where you live or work.  The best way to avoid this is to leave a door (or doors) or window (or windows) open, so they can get out!  There is no superstition that leaving these things open lets the evil spirits in.  It also explains why we always find the doors open in the winter.   So much for conserving energy…
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