The Chinese use of fortune sticks, known as "Chien Tung", is considered the oldest known fortune-telling method in the world. Using both hands, the fortune teller holds a bamboo container containing a set of 78 numbered sticks and shakes it, causing one of the sticks to rise and fall out. The number on the stick is cross-referenced with ancient texts to obtain a fortune.
These fortunes are generally short poems or rhymes and generally indicate the possibilities and general conditions which lie ahead, and not specific details about events. This in turn helps people order their lives to meet or prepare for those conditions.