Feng Shui and Birthday presents.
I have had a bit of a dilemma over the last two weeks as it was my mother and fathers birthdays within the space of two weeks of each other.
Now my mother told me that she wanted a new clock in either beige or orange as they represent earth and fire colours in the Feng Shui Five Elements for the kitchen as they have recently had the house re-decorated to better suit the Flying Stars for our home and the kitchen clock was extremely outdated to the rest of the kitchen.
My father had all of his latest gadgets already so asked me to get him a new set of kitchen knives as their existing pair were over 20 years old.
At first I thought this would be the easiest two birthdays I have ever had to shop for until I was looking on the internet for the gifts when I remembered something my father had told me many years ago…
“Never give a sharp object as a gift”
In Chinese Culture, sharp objects that are given as gifts, like knives, swords, chainsaws, scissors, letter openers etc will literally sever the relationship between the gift bearer and the recipient.
Knives, swords etc are a source of Sha Chi and can have a very negative effect when given as gifts which can result in you giving ‘Sha Chi’ (Bad Luck) to whoever you give the gift to.
Lesson learnt I thought! I had outsmarted my fathers test to see how well I listen when I am learning.
I was later looking around various websites that day looking for a nice clock to give to my mother for her birthday to place in the kitchen when lesson two came to me.
“Never give a clock as a gift”
When giving a clock as a gift, you are indirectly suggesting a limited lifespan for the recipient. In Chinese (Cantonese), giving a clock sounds extremely similar to the Chinese term for attending a funeral which is frowned upon.
Now I thought it would be my turn to get my own back on my parents for their test on my memory. I went round to my parents the same night and showed my father the website where I was ordering my mothers gift for her birthday (or so he thought).
I was on a website that sells hand embroided handkerkchiefs showing my father what I had ordered for my mother when his face went pale. This takes me to the next lesson…
“never give handkerchiefs as a gift”
Handkerchiefs are mainly used for two reasons; to wipe away sweat and to wipe away tears. Giving a handkerchief as a gift is indirectly suggesting that there will be much sorrow and hard work throughout the recipients life.
I told my father that I had caught on to the lesson he was trying to teach me and he seemed glad that I had not actually ordered the handkerchiefs for my mother.
Now it was time to get payback on my mother.
I went up to my mother and showed her a pair of brown Brogue shoes that I had ordered (or so she thought) for my father. A look of panic swept across her face as she began to rant about how bad it is to give shoes as a gift; this brings me to the final lesson…
“Never give shoes as a gift”
The word for shoes in Chinese (Cantonese) which is read as ‘Hai’ sounds just like a sigh. This predicts much sorrow in life and is very inauspicious which can give the recipient a great deal of bad luck (Sha Chi).
The moral of the story for my own personal experience would be “don’t try to outsmart your son” but obviously the real moral of the story would be to “be careful about the gifts you give”.
If you have received one of these presents or have already purchased one of these to give, either ask the present recipient for small change before you hand over the present or give the present bearer some loose change (it doesn’t have to be much) as this symbolises you purchasing the item instead of receiving it as a gift.
Whenever we receive one of the above as a gift, we always give the present bearer a small amount of change in an Ang Pow (Red envelope) as this is very common in Traditional Chinese Culture.