Chinese Superstitions & Beliefs

China is a country with an incredible 10,000-year history. As you can imagine, many ancient Chinese superstitions are still commonly practiced. The following are just a sample of the most widely accepted and imitated. 

Popular Chinese Religions

Though it originated in India, Buddhism has become the most popular religion in China. At least a third of the nation either casually or seriously follow Buddhism. It focuses on meditation and improving a person’s mental state as a way of increasing their understanding of reality. 

However, Confucianism is a uniquely Chinese philosophy that many follow with a ferocity that approaches religion. This belief system creates a detailed and often complicated group of appropriate behaviors that followers must meet. This belief is often countered by a conviction in Taoism, which preaches a life of simplicity.


Other popular religions in China include Islam and some branches of Christianity. While religions like these are a vital aspect of the country’s cultural beliefs, most Chinese beliefs and superstitions began in the various folk religions still practiced in rural areas. 

Personal Superstitions


Like many Asian cultures, China is ruled by various beliefs and superstitions involving personal interaction. One of the most common Chinese superstitious beliefs is the fact that you should never give someone a clock, as this indicates you are bidding them a farewell to the great beyond. Other ideas involve laying your chopsticks over a bowl, rather than on the side, as a way of defending against spirits. 


The most commonly known of these superstitious beliefs is likely Feng Shui. This practice involves arranging your living area in a way that draws positive energy or qi to your life. Many businesspeople focus on this practice as a way of increasing their success. However, it is also a commonly used method in private homes. 


One personal superstition that is regularly utilized after birth is Yue Zi. This practice gives new mothers a month of post-natal inactivity that allows them to recover. It is practiced to varying levels of seriousness, with some women being forced to stay inside the house for the whole period. They also eat a strict diet and must avoid as much physical activity as possible. 

More In-Depth Beliefs


If you are more interested in in-depth believes, such as why Chinese people fear the number four and love the number eight, please check out the rest of our list. Here, you can also learn why people never build houses facing north or northwest and other interesting facts about this intriguing culture.