By Christina “ICON” Shin, Staff Writer
People associate shamrocks, pots of gold, and the color green as symbols of luck on St. Patrick’s Day. Because of the many symbols associated with Saint Patrick’s Day, the holiday is considered a lucky day. But what about symbols considered to be lucky in Asia?
Most people associate the number seven as a lucky number, but in China, the number eight is considered extremely lucky. In Mandarin Chinese, the pronunciation for “eight” is close to “prosperity” and “wealth”; in Cantonese, for fortune. In one instance, the telephone number 8888-8888 was sold for a sum of $270,723. The Chinese government ensured that the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing began on Aug. 8 at exactly eight minutes and eight seconds past 8 p.m., local Beijing time.
Due to the frequency of natural disasters in Japan, it is no wonder that people purchase omamori, which literally translates to “protection”. Sold in Japanese temples and shrines, omamori are sealed brocade bags that contain a blessing. The Omamori range in different promises of protection such as good grades, health, and a happy marriage. They are sealed because it is considered bad omen to open them.
In South Korea, eating traditional or yeot (yŏt) on exam day is considered lucky. The sweet and sticky candy is made mostly with glutinous rice that is steamed and lightly fermented then boiled for a long time. Koreans students are encouraged to eat this prior to an exam so that all the knowledge sticks into their heads. Yeot can also have vulgar meaning when used in the phrase “eat yeot.” Ironically, the phrase was born due to an exam question scandal. See the video below for yeot.
According to ancient Vietnamese belief, tortoises symbolize firmness, longevity and endurance. A good number of tortoises can be seen built into architectural structures, adorning temples, shrines and pagodas across the country. At the Temple of Literature in Hanoi, Vietnam’s first university, 82 pillars of doctors were placed on the backs of stone tortoises to emphasize the importance of education.
Buddhism has become popular among Asian countries obsessed with luck and tradition. Wearing a Buddha charm means to protect one from harm. The Laughing Buddha, Matreiya, is considered the most lucky. Matreiya is tied to spiritual wealth and is believed to bring material wealth. The Laughing Buddha is even used in feng shui, a Chinese philosophy to be in harmony with one’s suroundings, to bring happiness and peace to the environment. The Laughing Buddha is also believed to improve one’s mood at a glance. People use the Buddha as charms for their homes, office, or even cars.
The Jade Times conducted a poll in March to see what sisters consider as their lucky charms. Here are the results:
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Article Image: Maya Williams