Chinese people seek good omens for gaokao candidates

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/7/8 0:16:30

A mother wearing a qipao waits outside an examination site in downtown Shanghai when her child was attending the first gaokao test on Tuesday morning. Photo: Chen Xia/GT

It is always easy to find parents wearing red items of clothing at examination sites for the annual national college entrance examination, or gaokao, across China. But using red to seek good luck is just an entry-level technique for Chinese people, who are always good at finding ways to boost candidates' chances.

Purple underpants with a red checkmark have reportedly become hot items on China's e-commerce platforms. Purple is pronounced zi in Chinese, and bottom is pronounced ding. So when wearing purple underpants, people would have a purple bottom, which is pronounced zi ding, a homophone for zhi ding, meaning "definitely ok" in Chinese.

Such pants are said to be especially popular in northeastern China.

"My roommate from northeastern China said that her mother asked her to wear purple underpants because she believes it will bring her luck," a netizen commented on Weibo Tuesday.

Qi kai de sheng is a Chinese idiom which means that the victory is won as soon as the military flag, or the qi in Chinese, is unfurled in the battle, indicating that good results are achieved as soon as things get started.

Qipao, a traditional Chinese costume, is another popular choice for mothers of gaokao candidates, as its qi is the same as in qi kai de sheng, and the qipao usually has side splits that are regarded as resembling an unfurled flag.

A male teacher in Dandong, Northeast China's Liaoning Province recently became popular on the internet as he got himself dressed up in a red qipao to send good wishes to his gaokao students. He also asked his students to cut the splits higher, as the higher the splits are, the more likely success will be. He, of course, wore a pair of trousers under the dress.

Omens from food will never be forgotten by Chinese people. Zhuangyuan porridge, a traditional food in South China's Guangdong Province that is cooked with rice and chopped entrails of pigs, is a must-try food during the gaokao season for candidates.

Zhuangyuan is the title given to the candidate who achieved the highest score at the highest level of the imperial examination in ancient China. Eating Zhuangyuan porridge before gaokao is believed to bring good luck and possibly higher scores in the test.

Zongzi, a traditional snack usually eaten during the Dragon Boat festival, is also favored by Chinese parents and candidates, because its zong sounds like zhong in Chinese, which refers to winning the Zhuangyuan title or the school you want to get into.

"Why not just believe, in case it is useful," a netizen joked.


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