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Rumor Mill Roundup: Common Superstitions in Burma

If you want to gain a better understanding of a culture and a society, you try to find out what their superstitions are. This is what we will be talking about today. The Burmese people carried a lot of superstitions with them. They greatly believed in astrology and divination. They truly believed in fortunetellers and soothsayers.

A lot of countries in the South East Asia are highly superstitious. Our writing team got together and shared some of the well-known Burmese superstitions and tried to figure out what the history behind them were.

Working beyond the Grave

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Burmese people believed that they were highly industrious people (and they are). They also believed that inside every person is a soul or a spirit. If a worker died, their families would often go to the place of employment and ask for a termination of services that comes in a certificate.

This certificate would then be placed over the grave. The belief is that if the spirit did not see the ‘notice’, it would continue to go to work just like clockwork.

Burmese people are notoriously stubborn when it comes to their capability to meet their workload despite any illnesses or physical limitations. So their belief about this stubbornness carries over beyond the grave.


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The popular belief is that they ward off evil spirits.

There are a lot of scorpions in Burma and some of them even cause the death of hundreds of infants and elderly individuals. As such, they are often regarded with fear and respect. Over time, the belief warped into believing that scorpions would be able to chase away or block evil spirits. After all, if the living were so terrified of scorpions, why should spirits be any different—since they were people once upon a time as well!

White Elephants

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Burma is predominantly Buddhist in their belief. The white elephant is sort of their unicorn. The white elephant is the herald of good fortune, fertility, and even extreme luck. So whenever rumors of a white elephant are loud in one particular area, people try to congregate there and find the animal in order to obtain its blessing.

Rather than superstition, this is deeply entrenched in their religion.

To Conclude

These are only some of the few famous superstitions that is commonly heard and shared around Myanmar. Each belief is deeply tied to their culture—such is the nature of superstition in general.

What particular Burmese superstitions have you heard before?