Lunar/ Chinese New Year Taboos
Happy New Year / 恭喜發財! 新年快樂 to anyone who is celebrating! 🐂🏮
I thought that it would be fun to introduce some taboos of don’t dos during the celebrations. Some of these we are told to avoid on the first day of New Year’s, whilst others should be avoided during the whole period of celebrations. We still uphold many of these today!
Before I go on, I put together a mini MCQ quiz for my friends and our Psychology community to have a go at. If you would like to learn more about some of the traditional customs – these are still very relevant today – click the link below.
It’s completely anonymous! 🙂
Now, onto the taboos! Just a warning that some of these are quite harsh, but symbolism is a massive part of our culture. Reverting yourself back to GCSE English Language will help here!
So, on New Year’s Day…
Married women should NOT visit their parents – You’d think that this would be disrespectful. However, when women are married, they are seen as part of their husband’s family now, so they should be with them. Seeing their parents on New Year’s day is said to bring poverty to their household!
Don’t go to the doctor/ visit a hospital / take medication unless you have a chronically illness – Taking medicine is said to bring poor health for the upcoming year.
Do not burrow or lend things to others, especially money – You should clear all of your debts by the New Year. Debts are bad… Wish it was that easy to clear my student debt!
Be very careful not to break anything – It releases negative omens. Kind of like the syaing that if you break a mirror, you’ll get bad luck for 7 years!
Don’t wash your hair, throw out the garbage, wash your clothes, or sweep the floors – These activities should be done prior to the New Year. You want to wash and sweep away all of the bad luck and when the good luck comes, you don’t want to wash it away!
You shouldn’t visit people in a household if they are still sleeping and you shouldn’t be sleeping during the day – This signifies ‘laziness’ or ‘fatigue’. Waking people up by calling their name is also bad as it is said to cause them to need people to nag them to do things!
Don’t eat porridge for breakfast – Congee (rice porridge) is a popular, traditional dish but back in the ‘old days’, as we call it, this was associated with being poor.
Stay away from the number 4 – It sounds like the word ‘death’.
Also don’t use any words with negative connotations – Anything to do with poverty, bad spirits, and death, for example. Again, this brings bad luck into your life.
Don’t wear black or white clothes – These are colours that you would wear to a funeral, but we want to being happiness and prosperity. Wear something red!
Don’t cry! Especially avoid punishing children even if they are misbehaving – It brings sadness upon the individual and we don’t want any of that. I’m sure I cried during last New Year for some reason and I can say that I’ve done a lot of that in the last year!!
Don’t use any sharp utensils – You’ll cut out all of the new good luck that has arrived. You also want to avoid any accidents too!
Avoid giving or buying books – The word for books sounds very similar to the verb to ‘lose’ .
Don’t cut your noodles! They signify longevity.
Don’t give money in lucky red envolopes (lay see) in odd numbers – Odd numbers are said to be unlucky.
Are you suprised by any of these?