Whether you like it or not, Asians especially Chinese are a superstitious lot. If you are new to Asia and visiting your colleagues or friends during the Chinese New Year period, it is better for you to do some background read up before you get frowned upon. The new lunar year is viewed as a fresh start and it comes with a whole set of rules that you should not break unless you are looking for bad luck. To help you navigate your way through, here are 15 things not to do on Chinese New Year. Gong Xi Fa Cai and enjoy your visiting!
1. Chinese New Year – Don’t Break Anything
As much as possible, try to avoid breaking anything during this period. If you happen to accidentally break a plate or two, wrap the remaining pieces of whatever you broke in red paper and leave them for five days, but also make sure to say the likes of “岁岁平安” to neutralise the whole situation (and the wrath of your parents). After the period of five days, you can then dispose of the broken items. Throwing out a dish on the first day would also classify as throwing out rubbish, and that symbolises losing wealth.
2. Eat Poor? Prepared To Be Poor.
Traditionally, congee is a type of porridge that was eaten by the poor in China. The Chinese believe that if you take on the diet of the poor during the Chinese New Year period, you will have a year of poverty ahead of you. So it is important to feast and eat like the wealthy.
3. Don’t Sleep Early On Chinese New Year Eve
You should stay up as late as possible on Chinese New Year Eve – the later you stay up, the longer their parents will live!
4. The Number Shall Not Be Named
You should never utter the word (or rather a number) 4. It’s an unlucky number that is associated with death because it is nearly homophonous to the word “死” in Mandarin. Generally skipped in elevators in China (perhaps that’s the secret floor.), Level F is sometimes used instead. Unless you want a death stare from the elders, avoid using that number at all times during the Chinese New Year period.
5. Chinese New Year – Black & White Is Bad Luck
In the Chinese culture, black and white are colours used during funeral wakes. During Chinese New Year, cast your black and white wardrobe aside and wear red. Red represents good fortune for Chinese but tradition is not far from facts.
6. Shut Your Trap!
Don’t curse others or use words with negative connotations during Chinese New Year. If you say it, it might happen to you.
7. Don’t Use Knives, Scissors or Sharp Objects
The use of knives, scissors or sharp objects is to be avoided. For any accident is thought to be an inauspicious omen and the depletion of wealth in the coming year.
8. Don’t Owe Money!
Payback any money you owe to start your new year with a fresh financial status. If someone owes you money, do not go to his or her home to demand it during Chinese New Year. Anyone who does so it is said to experience bad luck for the entire year!
9. Stop Sweeping Away Wealth
There is a reason why we have spring cleaning before Chinese New Year. Chinese believe that we are sweeping during Chinese New Year equates to sweeping away our wealth. While keeping your house clean is a good habit to have, let it go for the first 2 – 3 days of the Lunar New Year. Garbage must not be disposed of on the first day of the New Year too. It won’t really hurt, trust us.
10. Chinese New Year – No Count For Odd Amount
Putting odd amount in red packets brings bad luck for both the giver and the receiver.
11. Skip Hospital Visits.
Hospitals are associated with sickness and death. If you go during Chinese New Year, you are asking for a year of sickness for the whole family which may also happen because of all the germs and virus.
12. Avoid Taking Medication.
It is a taboo to take medicine on the first day of the New Lunar Year as it will curse someone to be sick for an entire year. In some places, after crossing 12 midnight on New Year’s Eve, sickly people break their gallipots (medicine pots) in the belief that this custom will drive the illness away in the coming year.
13. Don’t Wash Your Hair.
Your hair must not be washed on the first day of the Chinese New Year. In Mandarin, hair (发) is the same character and pronunciation as fa in facai (发财), which means ’to become wealthy’. Therefore, it is seen as not a good thing to “wash one’s fortune away” at the beginning of the New Year.
14. No Washing Of Clothes
The reason behind not washing anything on the first two days of Chinese New Year is because it’s the birthday of a God. Water God to be precise. He actually enjoys a two days birthday, don’t upset the Water God as you don’t know what will happen.
15. Chinese New Year – No Killing
Killing during Chinese New Year should be avoided as blood is considered an ill omen, which will cause misfortunes such as a knife wound, or a bloody disaster.
We hope you find our list of the 15 Chinese New Year things to avoid useful. It is there to help you avoid back luck and have an awesome Lunar New Year ahead.