Superstitions and rituals are common — from crossing your fingers when you wish for something to constructing a building without a 13th floor. In Asia, there are a multitude of rituals that are carried out before or after significant events. Here are just a few:
1. Singapore — Pineapple rolling in a new house
One popular ritual amongst the Chinese in Singapore is pineapple rolling. Before stepping into their new home, house-buyers will roll a pineapple into the house first while shouting “huat ah!” — a Hokkien phrase meaning “to prosper”.
And that’s because the Chinese word for pineapple sounds close to the sound of the phrase ‘luck coming your way’, so pineapples have become a symbol of good luck in Chinese culture.
The owners must not eat the pineapple afterwards, and should try to leave it under a tree, to symbolise the continuation of prosperity.
2. Japan — Purchasing Kumade before the new year
Good luck charms, like amulets and statues, are usually small. Japanese Kumade, however, can sometimes be large enough to be put on a wall. The Kumade are smaller decorative versions of rakes that are adorned with good luck ornaments such as the Goddess of Mirth, Koban and owls.
Koban, an oval gold coin from the Edo period, symbolises money and fortune. Owls are also valued in Japanese culture: the Japanese word for owl, ‘Fukurou’, contains the word for happiness, ‘Fuku’, and can also be interpreted to mean “no suffering”.
Kumade, bought at the end of the year, represent raking in heaps of success, wealth and good luck in the coming year.
3. South Korea — Predicting a child’s future career with Doljabi
In South Korea, a baby’s first birthday is a very special event. A large party is thrown, the child is dressed in a traditional hanbok, and presents are given to the guests.
The highlight, however, is doljabi — a ritual carried out to predict the child’s future career.
An array of items representing different occupations is laid out in front of the child, for the child to pick his or her interest. For example, a stethoscope to represent a doctor, or books to represent a scholar. In present times, there have been some modern additions such as microphones to represent entertainers or golf balls to represent athletes.
Many Asian cultures practice rituals because these make them feel confident about good fortune in their lives. At Eastspring, we too value confidence. Our experts work to keep you informed so that you can be confident about your investment choices. Learn more at www.eastspring.com