Amazing Kids! Magazine

Written in (not necessarily) the Stars

By Cathy Yan, Assistant Editor, Amazing Kids! Adventures Column Editor, and Global Village Editor


Since the beginning of time, humankind has been fascinated with what lies in the future. Even today, with new and improved technology being released every three months that can do everything from charge wirelessly to measure footsteps taken, people are still obsessed with horoscopes, palm reading, and finding what lies beyond us in the stars. Everywhere around the world, people use different methods to try and reach the goal of revealing the future.

In North America and Western Europe, fortune tellers are sideshows at the carnival and palm reading is a commonplace sleepover activity for teenagers. However, in Japan, an urenai, a clairvoyant medium of sorts, is a beloved member of society. The Japanese are highly appreciative of divination, with crowds lining up for hours to get fortunes on New Year’s Eve. Shops often have special Feng Shui experts come in to arrange decorations, and people pay as much as approximately $100 for divine advice all for the sake of trying to find out about their future.

However, Japan is not the only superstitious country out there. In some African nations, bone throwing is a fascinating and lively tradition that uses natural materials to gain insight into the future. During the ritual, bones, shells, and pebbles just to name a few are thrown into a circle drawn in the dirt or on to a mat made from animal hide. The results are then determined by reading the arrangement of the items, or, if the materials are shaped to have sides like the sides of dice, the orientation.

In Finland, for a fun twist to a traditional New Year’s Eve party, tin is melted, and then poured into a bucket of snow or cold water. When the tin has hardened, it is removed from the bucket and held up to the light. Whatever shape it casts on the wall is then interpreted to tell fortunes. For example, if the image resembles a hill, it may mean obstacles ahead while a coin will bring money.

Overall, despite its lack of scientific proof, fortune telling is a harmless and interesting activity that may or may not provide insight into life. It, for many around the world, is a guide and a method of seeking assurance and advice from the rumored Great Beyond. In spite of its unreliability at times and generalizations, fortune telling may be a great indicator of cultural developments and some find it a fun activity for any group of people.