Chinese New Year is a auspicious holiday and like many holidays of its kind, there are many traditions associated with welcoming in a brand new calendar year that will determine how your prosperity, wealth, luck, health and happiness will pan out for the next 365 days. We’ve compiled a list of New Year no-no’s for you to take note of but do keep in mind that many of these taboos aren’t even observed anymore:
1. DON'T: Wear black or white clothes
These two colours are associated with mourning so it’s best to avoid wearing any black or white clothes during the New Year period but this is especially important on the first day of CNY itself.
2. DON'T: Wash any clothes
It’s somewhat frowned upon to wash clothes during the first two days of Chinese New Year as these are considered to be the Water God’s birthday. So, if you wash clothes during these two days, the god will be offended.
3. DON'T: Cry
Crying brings bad luck so try to avoid scolding your children on the first day of Chinese New Year (yes, even if they’re being naughty!) as it is believed that it could trigger a series of misfortunes.
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4. DON'T: Utter unlucky words
If there’s one word that shouldn’t be said during Chinese New Year, it is “die”. The Chinese believe that whatever is said in the beginning of the year will linger so be careful what you say during this time.
5. DON'T: Visit hospitals
Unless it’s an absolute emergency, a visit to the hospital during this period should be avoided as it’s believed to bring illness or bad luck to the visitor for the rest of the year.
6. DON'T: Do any needlework
Women should not do any needlework, like sewing or knitting, during the New Year as it apparently leads to unnecessary arguments with family members and neighbours.
7. DON'T: Lend money to anyone
Lending money to people is a major no-no during the New Year as it symbolises a loss of wealth. Additionally, if you have any personal debts, make sure to settle them before New Year’s day.
8. DON'T: Break any plates
Take extra care around fragile items during this period. It’s said that breaking a bowl, plate, glass, vase or mirror on CNY is especially frowned upon as it results in a loss of money or a split in family relations.
9. DON'T: Eat porridge
Avoid eating rice porridge or meat on the morning of Chinese New Year. Why? Superstitious folks believe that only poor people have porridge for breakfast, so they don’t want to start the year “poor” as this is a bad omen.
10. DON'T: Use scissors or other sharp objects
Using scissors is an omen for possible quarrels with others. For extra peace of mind, it is said that sharp tools shouldn’t be use at all during the first lunar month.
11. DON'T: Buy new shoes
The Chinese word for shoes is hai, which sounds similar to the word for “rough” or the sound of a dejectecd sign, so buying shoes suggests you’ll have a rough, bumpy year ahead.
12. DON'T: Sweep or clean the house
While a big spring clean should be done prior to the holidays, on New Year’s Day itself sweeping or taking out the trash is considered a huge no-no as it represents sweeping away one’s fortunes.
13. DON'T: Kill anything
Killing anything during this auspicious time period should be avoided at all costs as blood is considered an ill omen and could be a precursor to other misfortunes like injuries.
14. DON'T: Wash your hair
“Head” is synonymous to “beginning” in Chinese, and it is a common custom to not wash your hair in the first three days of Chinese New Year so you don’t derail a good start to the year.
15. DON'T: Give out odd amounts of money
When doling out ang bao remember that even numbers, except four, are better than odd. It is best if the amount starts or ends in eight, such as $8 or $80, as it reportedly boosts your luck.
(Read more: Here’s Why You Should Never Loan Money To Relatives)