Protection against evil spirits

And for the second time this month I’m saying that Chinese people are very superstitious. The other day C. came home with a branch of some plant that someone gave him. I had already seen that branch hanging beside the door of several neighbours and it reminded me of when Spanish people hang palm branches from their balconies in Easter. But it seems this branch has a totally different meaning…

Our apartment’s door cannot be more Chinese… On the left, the branch. Sorry about the poor photo quality, the hallway is quite dark.

 

At first I understood this plant was effective against mosquitoes, so I told C. to put it inside the house. We have SO MANY mosquitoes, even though we live in the 10th floor. I’m starting to think we have a mosquito breeding center somewhere. But he told me that no, this branch has to be hanged outside, because it has another function: to offer protection against evil spirits. As you can see, there is also a garlic head there…

So these evil spirits are a bit like vampires I guess.

 

I don’t know where this tradition comes from as I don’t remember seeing this branch on previous years, and for sure we never had it before. Maybe it’s some old custom that has been revived? I also have no idea what the plant is…

 

More about superstitions and spirits in these other posts: Chinese superstitions, pregnancy taboos in China, Chinese zombies and the Ghost Festival.

 

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