Mahjong and its Superstitions
Like many other games, mahjong has its own set of superstitions.
Larry Young of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association of New England is a Hong Kong native who has played mahjong regularly for more than 30 years.
Sometimes, Larry says, he puts a piece of ginger in his pocket while he plays to ward off bad luck...
Other Mahjong players believe in wearing red undergarments for good luck, as red symbolizes luck and prosperity.
Here's a list of other Mahjong superstitions:
getting up for a change of scenery during a losing streak to turn the tides
praying or even making an offering to the gods before a game
stowing away all books in the vicinity of the game - as the word 'book' in Chinese is phonetically similar to the word 'lose'
not touching players on the shoulder while they play for fear of disturbing their fortunes
Shiqi Hu, a big fan of Mahjong and a junior at Boston College from Guangzhou, China says that Mahjong players believe that picking the right seat around the mahjong table brings good luck and increases their probability of winning.
Mahjong superstitions also extend far beyond mahjong tables: rumor has it that the MGM Grand hotel in Las Vegas has remodeled its old entrance because Asian guests did not like to enter through the massive, gold lion. They believed this to be a sign of bad luck, as the casino was literally 'swallowing' their wealth.
Whether these colorful superstitions can truly alter one's luck remains uncertain, but their prevalence speaks volumes about the importance of mahjong in a Chinese culture.