I Changed My Name Because of a Chinese Fortune Teller

Annie recently changed her Chinese given name from Yating (雅婷) to Yiling (奕绫) based on the instruction of a part-time fortune telling master (who incidentally holds a full-time job as a private equity investor). Even though Annie has a well paid and highly regarded job and is in a loving marriage, she was bothered that this may not be what she wants and felt confused as to where her life was going. A new name, the theory goes, could potentially free her mind and soul and allow her to be a “free horse” (she is born in the year of horse) to pursue what she wants.

She is not alone. Many Chinese seek comfort and assurance from fortune telling masters, who don’t only serve as a kind of prophet, but also to some extent play the role of psychologist. Amid the myriad pressures of modern life, many Chinese are turning back to traditional superstitions and beliefs, and fortune telling and fengshui businesses have boomed over the past decade.

In today’s episode, Annie talks about her name changing experience and how it has fed into a process of self-discovery.

“Sitting the Month” – Postpartum Confinement in China

“Sitting the Month” – Postpartum Confinement in China

Imagine not being allowed to take a shower, leave your house, or even open a window for an entire month. This is the experience for millions of women in China immediately after giving birth – but how relevant is the “zuo yuezi” tradition today?