Mahjongg Fun Facts

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I was searching around the internet this week and came across some fun facts about Mahjongg that I thought you might enjoy.  It’s really just a potpourri of MahJongg Trivia, although some could fall under MahJongg superstitions, MahJongg history or even MahJongg Lore.

First, did you know that In other countries the Flowers have much more specific meaning than how we use them here in American MahJongg?   Did you know that the flowers that are not labeled with “seasons” are specific Flowers?

The 1 Flower is a Plum; the 2 Flower is an Orchid; the 3 Flower is a Mum; and the 4 Flower is a Bamboo.

And the Dragons too, have history in the Chinese version (and even different history in different countries).  But the name as the “Dragon Tile” is a Western convention that was introduced by Joseph Park Babcock in his 1920 book introducing MahJongg to America.

According the The History of MahJongg Book, by Tuttle Publishing, the Red Dragon means passing the examination to clear the way to officialdom in Chinese.

The Green Dragon tile means wealth.  And, the White Dragon tile means freedom from corruption.

There are even ANIMAL TILES used in a few countries, ( specifically in Malaysia and Singapore). They  represent the CAT, the MOUSE,  the COCKEREL, and the CENTIPEDE.  Yikes! Does anyone know what a cockerel is?  I can see why the Western Version skipped these tiles.

winds dragons flowers animals

Now if you are Superstitious you may not want to keep reading!

If you win the first game, that’s bad luck.

Wearing red is considered good luck, and even thought to ward off evil spirits. So at least wear your VERY red lipstick or even just a red hat?

Sit opposite the light for luck to shine on you. Of course, not sure what to tell you if it’s overhead lighting!

And, whatever you do, don’t tap any players on their shoulders! (Although, I couldn’t find anywhere what will happen to you, so I guess it’s just better not to do it and don’t ask why.)

And finally, here’s some other minor Trivia:

Did you know, that in Hong Kong restaurants, they provide mahjongg tables for their patrons for use before or after lunch and dinner.and.even at weddings!

And finally, the word mahjongg means “clattering sparrows” because the noise of the tiles when mixing them, resembles the sound birds make.

So next time you’re playing, think about the thousands of years that this game has been played in so many different countries, and let’s start some traditions of our own!

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  1. Faye  October 16, 2014

    Here are some other things to note. The character on the green dragon is indeed the character for prosperity.
    A cockerel is a rooster. When playing with the animals you get points if you have one exposed. But if you expose the centipede/worm and someone has the rooster then watch out because the rooster will “eat” the worm and that then goes over to the opponent. The same is true of the cat and mouse. Just added fun to the game. It is said to be good luck to face the water so imagine the luck hovering when you play at the beach! And as you can imagine it is bad luck to have your back to the door. I am sure there are more superstitions too!

  2. Mrs McDuck  October 21, 2014

    That was sooo interesting!!!

  3. Sue  October 23, 2014

    Thank you, Mrs McDuck! Love your name! And happy that you liked our blog!

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