Chinese New Year weighs a lot on Chinese people’s minds; not only will they observe the traditional Chinese culture by adhering to ancient traditions, they will also try to avoid violating various taboos, which many still take seriously today.
There are many taboos that are associated with the New Year Festival. In recent years, however, some of them have been discarded, especially among the younger generation. Yet, there are some that still live on, some of which may only be for the first few days, while others will go on till the 15th of the lunar January (Lantern Festival) or even for a whole month.
Here are our 10 top things that people should avoid doing during the Chinese New Year:
1. Do not start the year wth debts
Pay off all debts before the New Year. If the debtor is not able to pay the money back, creditors should not ask them to do so during the first five days of the New Year.
2. Lots of things on Day 1
Avoid eating porridge, or else it is easier to get wet in the rain this year. Avoid taking naps, which symbolize one’s being lazy this year. Married daughters should not visit their parents today. If they do, they bring bad fortune to their parents.
3. Don’t use unlucky words on days 1-4
Unlucky words or phrases — such as death, sickness, or loss — should not be used during the first four days. If children accidentally use them, adults should say 童言 無忌 (tóng yán wú jì) right away, meaning: “Please pardon the child for his reckless words.”
4. Don’t take out the trash
Do not take out the garbage during the first four days of the New Year, because it symbolizes cleaning out all of the good luck for the coming year.
5. Don’t break anything
Breaking something brings bad luck. If you accidentally break something on days 1-4, say 歲歲平安 (suì suì píng ān), which means: “May everyone be blessed all year round.” The pronunciation of 歲 (suì) is the same for both “break” and “year,” and 平安 (píng ān) means “peaceful” or “blessed.” So you turn bad luck into good luck.
6. Don’t bring an odd number of presents
When married daughters visit their parents on Day 2, they should bring an even number of presents. An odd number is considered bad luck.
7. Don’t stay for dinner on Day 2
When married daughters visit their parents together with their husbands, stay for lunch and leave before dinner. If you don’t, it’s bad luck.
8. Don’t leave home on Day 4
The Kitchen God is coming back to Earth today, and will do a roll call, so make sure you are at home.
9. Don’t hang out the laundry on Day 9
Today is the birthday of the Jade Emperor. In order to show respect for him, hanging out the laundry is not allowed.
10. Don’t cut your hair
It’s considered a bad omen to have a hair cut during the New Year period. Also, wearing completely black or white is avoided, since they are colors used in a funeral, symbolizing bad luck.