Eight Superstitions in Malaysian Culture You Need to Know!

by | Feb 11, 2022 | APAC - Other Countries | 1 comment

Malaysian culture is vibrant, with a rich history that has influenced the Malaysian way of life and how they see the world around them. One way we can see how Malaysians think is through the superstitions they believe.

Their culture is influenced by some of these superstitions, while others are passed down through generations to scare children. If you are moving to Malaysia, here are eight superstitions you may find weird or funny.

However, respect them, though, as they are part of Malaysian culture.

Eight Superstitions in Malaysian Culture

Malaysian Culture: Washing Hands and Feet Immediately on Returning Home

In Malaysian culture, washing hands and feet before entering one's home is an hygenic practice even though it's based on superstitions! Or is it? By unsplash
In Malaysian culture, washing hands and feet before entering one’s home is an hygenic practice even though it’s based on superstitions! Or is it? By Unsplash

This is a very serious superstition for many Malaysian families, because they believe you might attract wandering spirits as you travel from place to place to the home.

When you wash your hands and feet outside the home, Malaysians believe you are removing the spirit’s scent on you and they will keep it outside, preventing them from causing chaos inside.

Malaysian Culture: Never Cut Your Nails at Night

It is believed that once you cut your nails at night, the nail clippings would allow spirits to replace you once they seep down into the ground.

Malaysian Culture: The Number ‘4’ Is Bad Luck

Malaysians also believe in this famous Chinese superstition, that the number 4 is not auspicious. According to the Chinese, the number 4 sounds like the Cantonese and Mandarin word for “death.” As a result, they don’t use “4” in addresses, floors or even on license plates.

Malaysian Culture: Never Let a Broom Touch the Feet

The older generation uses this superstition to stop children from playing with brooms in school. They believe that if the broom’s brush bristles touch one’s feet, it may cause bad luck because brooms are used to sweep away dirt and other nasty things.

Malaysian Culture: Don’t Sit on a Pillow

They say that if you sit on a pillow, you will start developing pimples on your bum. This superstition is mainly applied to bed pillows, but some believe it applies to all types of pillows.

Malaysian Culture: Don’t Give Clocks as Presents

In Malaysian culture, you want to please someone with a gift, not anger them!<br />By unsplash
In Malaysian culture, you want to please someone with a gift, not anger them! By Unsplash

This superstition traces its roots from the Chinese homonyms that explain why you shouldn’t give someone a clock as a present.

If you give a person a clock, it’s like saying you want them to meet their end soon, or that you wish their life will stop.

Malaysian Culture: Never Sleeping With the Feet Facing the Door

In Malaysia, your bed must be placed away from the bedroom door or not directly opposite it. This superstition is partly due to the tradition of how dead are carried in and out of the house, which is usually feet first.

Malaysian Culture: Finish Every Grain of Rice on Your Plate

This belief is mainly directed at those who are single and wish to get engaged or married to someone handsome. They say that if you don’t finish all your rice, every grain represents the pimples your future partner will have.

Every person believes in different things, and if you don’t believe in superstitions, you may find the list ridiculous. Before shrugging it off, it is important to remember that others may see these superstitions as a way of life. If you are moving to Malaysia, knowing them will help you show your new Malaysian friends you respect their practice, even if you find it odd.

Are there superstitions you have come across where you live? Let us know, black cat or otherwise.

by: Kally Tay