Many Asian households follow a set of Chinese New Year superstitions to ensure a prosperous year ahead. Usually, businesses will close for the day to focus on home and family, and individuals take the time to relax, eat well, and celebrate the holiday. Whether you believe in these superstitions or not is entirely up to you.
- No sweeping. It’s believed that sweeping or taking out the trash on this day is equivalent to removing good fortune from entering the house. If you must clean, sweep towards the interior to signify welcoming a steady stream of abundance.
- No congee for breakfast. In the olden days, rice porridge was linked to poverty. Thus, eating congee for breakfast on the first day of the new year is discouraged.
- Avoid lending money or taking loans. Don’t lend money on Chinese New Year and pay off your debts before the holiday arrives. Failing to follow this will bring bad luck for the entire year.
- Speak kindly. During the Lunar New Year, refrain from talking about death, illness, poverty, ghosts, or terms with negative meanings. You don’t want to attract these misfortunes in the upcoming year.
- Don’t wash or cut your hair. In Mandarin, ‘hair’ (å‘, fa) and ‘becoming wealthy’ (facia, å‘è´¢) have similar pronunciations. Therefore, washing or cutting your hair is related to taking away a person’s fortune.
- Don’t wash clothes. Washing clothes on Chinese New Year is considered disrespectful to the Chinese water god because pouring away water connotes wasting wealth.
- Wear red. You’ll see many people wearing red during the festive season because it’s considered a lucky color. Keep away from black and white as it’s associated with funerals.
- Wear something new. Similarly, you’ll want to wear your best outfit during the Lunar New Year to symbolize fresh beginnings and abundance.
- Avoid sharp objects. Using sharp objects on the first day of Chinese New Year is perceived as a sign of future conflicts with others. Because scissors and knives are sharp, they are thought to “break ties” with friends and family.
- Avoid unlucky numbers. When giving money in red envelopes, include an even amount as they believe good things always come in pairs. However, numbers like 4 and 40 should be avoided, as four sounds like death in Chinese.
- Avoid breaking fragile items. Breaking bowls, plates, or glass during the Lunar New Year is believed to bring bad luck, financial loss, or familial separation.
- Avoid hospital visits. A trip to the hospital around this time is related to illnesses. Hence, hospital visits are avoided unless necessary. Likewise, don’t brew herbal medicine on the first day of the festivities.
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