As Asians, it is customary to be superstitious about everything, and Chinese New Year is no different. You’ll be surprised by the number of Chinese New Year superstitions we have!
While logic rules, and not all of these customs are practised today, it still is a fascinating list, this! 🙂
#1. Avoid black and white
Yup, Chinese New Year (CNY) is about colour and all things bright (and red!). Wearing black and white is traditionally associated with mourning, so avoid wearing them, especially on the first day of CNY.
#2. Don’t sweep until day 5
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Finish up all your cleaning before CNY. For sweeping and taking out the trash on New Year’s Day symbolises sweeping away your fortunes. Gulp.
On the bright side, less housework during CNY holidays? 😉
#3. Don’t wash/cut your hair
“Head” is associated with “beginning” in Chinese. So you are advised not to wash/cut your hair on the first 2 days of the New Year, if you want a good start.
#4. Leave all the doors and windows open on CNY Day 1
Image source: iStock
Yup, all that good fortune and prosperity need to find their way in, so leave all the gateways open please. 🙂
This also symbolises getting rid of the old and making way for the new.
#5. No visiting on CNY day 3
The third day of CNY is considered ominous.
People usually don’t go out for visiting, because this day is believed to be “Chi Kou Ri” (the day of red mouth). Also known as “Chi Gou Ri” (the day of the Red Dog).
According to Chinese culture, “red mouth” is easy to cause quarrels and fights.
Also, the Red Dog is the God of Blazing Wrath. Bad things will happen if people run into the Red Dog.
So stay indoors, yeah?
#6. Don’t wash any clothes
It is actually considered inauspicious to wash clothes on Day 1 & 2 of CNY because those days are the Water God’s (Shuishen) birthday. And you don’t want to offend the Gods.
#7. Don’t cry
Yes, that’s right, think before you cry, and try not to make the kids cry as well on the first day of Chinese New Year. 🙂
Crying apparently brings bad luck.
#8. Make auspicious food for your guests
Image source: iStock
Did you know that different snacks and foods symbolise different blessings? Check out this list!
- Apples = peace, wisdom
- Apricot, dried (杏脯; xìngfǔ) – gold, wealth
- Chang shou mian (长寿面) = longevity
- Dumplings = abundance of wealth
- Egg (蛋, dàn) – fertility
- Eight treasures pudding (八宝饭) = good luck, great fortune
- Fish served from head to tail = an abundant and prosperous year from beginning to end
- Grapes (葡萄, pútaó) – wealth, abundance, fertility
- Lychee = close family ties
- Nian gao (Sticky rice cake, Chinese new year’s cake): prosperity
- Orange (柑橘; gānjú) – wealth, good fortune, gold
- Peaches = long healthy life
- Pineapple, pineapple tarts = wealth, luck
- Pork (猪肉; zhūròu) – strength, wealth, abundant blessing
- Sticky rice – coherence of family
- Seafood (e.g. prawns, abalone, crabs) = abundance of providence
- Tang yuan (汤圆) = family togetherness, reunion
- Fresh bean curd / tofu should not be served as it is white and unlucky for New Year. The colour signifies death and misfortune.
- Fresh fruits symbolise life and new beginnings.
- Sugared fruits are supposed to sweeten one’s upcoming year.
- Sweets and fruits are served on a round tray, the form resembling togetherness, hence the tray is called the ‘Tray of Togetherness’.
- It is better if sweets offered on the tray add up to the number 8, because 8 is a lucky number and symbolises fortune.
#9. 9 Oranges in the kitchen
Nine oranges placed either in the kitchen or in the living room is said to bring good luck and prosperity.
It is also said to scare the ghosts away. 🙂
#10. Don’t give out odd-numbered ‘ang bao’
Image source; iStock
When giving out ‘ang bao’ remember to stick to even numbers. Even better if the number starts or ends with 8 – it apparently boosts your luck! 🙂
#11. Don’t make porridge
Avoid eating porridge on the morning of CNY. Why? Porridge is for the poor.
And you don’t want to start the year on a poor note. 🙂
#12. Mystic knots bring luck
Decorate your home with mystic knots, preferably the ones with gold coins. The mystic knot, also known as the endless knot, symbolises a long and happy life full of good fortune.
Also READ: The outsider’s guide to Chinese New Year in Singapore