No Beef Before Exams? Superstition Among Students in Chinese Culture

Explore the nuances of Chinese culture as we delve into the superstition of avoiding beef before exams and its legendary ties to the god Wen Chang.


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Previously we have discussed how the superstition of the Chinese Zodiac Sign has an effect on birth rate, today, let’s talk about another superstition believed by many students. 

If you're anything like me, you probably love a good old beef noodle soup or a sizzling beef stir-fry. But what if I told you there's a superstition in Chinese culture that advises students against consuming our beloved beef right before exams? Gasp! Yes, you heard that right! 

Let’s moo-ve into the details.

For those new to Chinese deities, Wen Chang (文倉帝君), is the deity presiding over literature, education, and all those nerve-wracking exams. His influence has been felt for centuries, with students lighting incense, praying, and even presenting offerings to seek his blessings for academic success.

Now, here's where the beefy bit comes in. Legend has it that Wen Chang's favorite animal was the cow because of its docile nature and significant role in agriculture. The cow, being a symbol of labor and diligence, was highly revered by the god. So, out of respect for Wen Chang, it's been a tradition for students to avoid consuming beef, especially before exams. It's a way of showing reverence, ensuring they don't inadvertently upset Wen Chang and jeopardize their chances of acing their tests.

It's fascinating to see how age-old traditions mold and shape practices in contemporary life, knowing the tale behind the superstition adds a layer of depth and flavor to an already rich tapestry of Chinese customs. It’s a blend of respect, tradition, and a dash of celestial caution.

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