Stealing Veggies For Luck

On the 14th day of the Lunar Calendar, some Hakka people will notoriously steal veggies from others’ fields, as it represents good fortune.

Nowadays, this custom is inevitably fading due to the decrease in agriculture, but it can still be found in certain villages in Zhangmutou and Fenggang towns in Dongguan. The best part is that owners of the fields are actually understanding when seeing others stealing veggies from their place on this particular day!

Normally, youths will group together to steal veggies—singles who cook and eat the stolen veggies do so to see their soulmate appear in the new year. Spring onion is one of the hottest items to be stolen, because the pronunciation of the Chinese name “Cong” is the same as one of the characters from the translation for “smart”—which is “Cong ming” in Mandarin; lettuce is stolen primarily, not only because of it being a favored vegetable but also due to the pronunciation, which sounds very similar to a phrase representing the notion of making money. Furthermore, to steal garlic means you will manage your money better in the coming year.

Luo Lianjiao, a 60-plus-old lady from Zhangmutou explained that a long time ago, ancestors would always fight with each other, and in the end they turned hostility into friendship by using vegetables as a symbol of peace.