Asian parents love telling their children about various cultural superstitions and most of us already know how much influence this can have in our daily lives — their words will make you paranoid for the rest of your life. Many of these wild superstitions involve the different meanings of dreams and what they’re trying to tell you about the future.
An innocent dream such as getting a new haircut or losing a tooth can be foretelling the death of a loved one, while dreaming of being covered in poop can mean you’ll experience great luck.
It’s hard to say where these interpretations originated or how they were created in the first place, but if you’ve ever wondered what your dreams might be telling you, here are some of the most common dreams and what they mean in different Asian cultures:
Chinese dream interpretations and superstitions often differ from other cultures. For example, a dream about being abandoned may not be as bad as it sounds as it could mean that you will be given something in the near future. If you dream of your spouse leaving you, it actually means the love in the relationship will grow deeper, while dreaming of your wife being pregnant could mean that she’s cheating on you. It is also believed that dreaming of being bitten by a snake means that you will come into a large amount of money. And ironically, dreaming of someone dying could mean that the person you dreamt of will live a long and healthy life.
While dreaming of dead family members and ancestors might sound eerie to some, in Chinese culture, meeting a dead ancestor means your family is blessed and protected. If the ancestor speaks to you in your dream, it signals financial security. On the other hand, if you dream of picking up money, it means that your ancestors are in need of more money and need you to burn paper money for them.
One object in a dream can hold multiple good and bad meanings as well, like a house, for example. If your dream shows you cleaning a house, it could mean a guest will be visiting. However, if you dream of entering a rundown house, it could mean that you will be entering an unlucky phase in life. And if you dream of entering a house only to find it empty, it means someone in your life may die in the near future.
In Japanese culture, the first dream of the new year — hatsuyume (初夢) — is said to be able to predict how the upcoming year will treat you. Traditionally, there are certain lucky objects that you need to see in this dream to have a great new year, such as Mt. Fuji, a hawk, and an eggplant. While the last of the three may seem rather unusual, the eggplant is believed to represent achievements. This is a play on words as the Japanese word for “eggplant” — nasu (ナス) — and the words “to achieve” –(成す-also nasu) — are very similar.
If you want to have this coveted hatsuyume, it’s believed that placing a photo of the seven deities of good fortune under your pillow the night before can help. However, there’s no need to panic if you start the year off with a bad dream. The mythical creature, Baku, which is also the Japanese word for Tapir, is said to eat these bad dreams if you offer it to them.
Pig dreams are considered to be one of the luckiest in Korean dream interpretation as this animal symbolizes wealth and fortune. However, for it to be a lucky dream, a pig would have to come closer to you instead of moving further away. If you dream of embracing a pig, that’s considered an especially good omen. Other animals that could point to good fortune are dragons, snakes, and phoenixes.
If you believe someone else needs this luck, you have the option of selling the dream for something in return.
On the other hand, losing parts of your body such as hair, nails, eyebrows and teeth are all considered to be unlucky dreams. Losing teeth in particular means that you will lose someone or something important in your life — this could be anything from losing a job to losing a friend or a family member. Generally, if the upper teeth fall out, it signals the death of an older family member while the loss of your lower teeth signifies the death of a younger family member.
It is also believed that a married woman and those close to her can have dreams that are able to predict when she is pregnant and what the gender of her baby will be. Dreams involving subjects with “masculine” characteristics — tigers, cows, snakes, pigs and dragons — point to a baby boy, while dreams involving small and beautiful objects — fruit, jewelry, small goldfish — point to a baby girl. Conception dreams are generally believed to be much more vivid and intense unlike other dreams.
Good omen in Nepali culture include dreams about crossing a river, which symbolizes success such as passing an exam or being promoted at work, and dreaming about dying, which symbolizes the end of your problems and a new beginning. If you dream of someone else dying, it means they will live a long life.
Certain subjects in dreams can vary in meaning depending on small details. For example, seeing a burning fire in your dream means you’ll experience good luck. However, if you see burning fire with smoke, it signals the opposite.
Other bad omen include seeing a naked person in your dream which means you are about to receive bad news, such as the death of a relative. Additionally, dreaming about finding gold means you may lose a lot of money and dreaming about eating soil is a symbol for humiliation.
There are a series of dreams that are considered to be very lucky in the Philippines which point to wealth, prosperity and possibly even winning the lottery. For example, dreaming about honey bees, which are seen as hard-working insects, could mean your own hard work will soon produce sweet results. Seeing large quantities of milk also signals happiness and wealth and seeing the number 8 is also a very good sign and can hold similar meanings of wealth and success.
While it may sound slightly odd, dreaming of holding poop is actually a sign of — once again — wealth and financial luck. If you instead step on poop, it means you will unexpectedly run into a bit of luck.
It has also been said that if you dream of a person with no clear face but select visible features, you’re dreaming of your soulmate.
Like in other Asian dream interpretations, dreaming of teeth falling out also holds negative connotations in Philippines culture. This dream can mean someone in your life will die soon; however, you can counteract this by biting on a piece of wood.
In Thai dream interpretations, things that might appear scary can actually hold positive meaning. If you dream of a snake, it means you will meet your soulmate and if you dream of a snake wrapped around your body it means your soulmate is on their way to you. If you’re already in a relationship but have this dream, it would mean that someone has a crush on you.
Another slightly unusual interpretation involves seeing a dead body, this is seen as a sign that you will win something or run into unexpected luck in the near future.
On the other hand, dreaming of kissing someone is actually considered to be unlucky. Also, like many other Asian cultures, dreaming of losing a tooth is also considered to be associated with death. However, in Thai culture, it’s said that the loss of a tooth from the upper row of teeth represents the loss of someone from the paternal side of your family, while the lower row represents a family member from the maternal side.