A large part of Chinese superstitious beliefs is tied up in numerology – lucky numbers and unlucky numbers. I talked about it before in Rich Chinese ; crazy things are done and large amounts of money is spent to get the right numbers and avoid the bad ones. Barry Li, author of The New Chinese: How they are changing Australia recounts a story of a Sydney house that failed to achieve the same ludicrous selling price as other Sydney properties, all because it had the street number of 74 (it probably still sold for other 1million AUD though). With different tonal inflictions, the pronunciation of 74 can easily become ‘wife dies’, ‘angry to death’ or ‘die together’, so Chinese buyers steered clear.
As I brought up the Monkey King in my previous post on religion in China I thought it would be reminisce of me if I didn’t expound further on this little guy. In some regards he’s a bit like Santa Claus: everyone is familiar with the image and the symbolism in some small way. A guy with a white beard in a red hat is easily synonymous with the term Christmas. But Santa didn’t appear out of nowhere. Like how facts and truths about Santa’s reindeers, elves and home address are a bit more quick to mind than the story of his origin as a monk, the history behind the Monkey King is equally mystical, and also if it not as instantly recognisable as his appearance.