The annual Chinese New Year festive season is coming. And once again, it’s the time for family bonding and happiness. But did you know there are a few taboo things that you should never do at home this CNY? Here they are!
1. Don’t share a pear
No matter how close you are with your loved ones, avoid sharing a pear this CNY. In Mandarin, sharing a pear is called 分梨(fēn lí), which has the same pronunciation as 分离(fēn lí) which means to go apart. So, if you want to remain lovey dovey with your loved ones, never share a pear together.
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2. Don’t eat porridge
In the olden days, people had the conception that porridge is only eaten when you’re down and out. So, even till today, most Chinese avoid eating porridge during the CNY period, to avoid inviting poverty.
3. Avoid borrowing money
Another common belief is that if you start the year in debt, you will be in debt for the rest of the year. So, if you still owe anyone money, quick repay them back! On the other hand, there are also some Chinese who believe it is a taboo to be collecting debts back on new year either. So, let’s leave the chasing till after new year.
4. Don’t break anything
Be it a bowl, a mirror or just a furniture, be extra careful with fragile items this CNY! According to traditional belief, breaking things during the CNY period means money loss and family splitting in the future. But in case you really end up breaking something *touch wood*, you could consider saying out loud “suì suì píng ān”, which means safe and sound every year. Since the pronunciation of year (岁 suì) and broken (碎 suì) are the same, it is believed to help expel bad luck.
5. Don’t use any sharp objects
At least for the first day of the new year, avoid using any sharp objects like knife or scissors, as they are thought to invite disputes into your family.
6. Don’t sweep or take out garbage
Especially on New Year’s day, avoid taking out the garbage or sweeping your home. There’s a common belief that you are sweeping away your good luck and fortune. But what if you really need to sweep the floor? Then, sweep inwards, from the front of your house (the door) towards your house interiors! That’s like sweeping money into your home rather than sweeping it away!
7. Married women, stay out of your family!
At least for the very first day of CNY, married women it’s advised that you don’t return to your parents’ home. It’s a common belief that doing so can bring poverty to your parents’ home. So, avoid that, no matter how much you miss them!
8. Don’t do what you wouldn’t want to do for the rest of the year
Now, this applies to so many instances, that we can wrap it up with a general rule. Never ever do anything on CNY that you wouldn’t want to happen to you for the rest of the year. That includes trying not to get sick or take medicine, because that could mean you’ll end up sick all year round. And avoid crying or bickering during the CNY. Or, nap during day, because it means you’ll be lazy for the year. Yes, it means no extra hours of sleeping throughout the holiday. *Yawwwnn*
9. Avoid black or worn-out clothes
The festive season means a time to start afresh. So, naturally the Chinese love to wear new clothes, buy good food and get new stuff during this season to symbolize a new beginning. And, wearing black or dirty and worn clothing is a taboo that represents poverty and misfortune.
10. Avoid doing laundry and washing your hair
Housewives would be so happy to hear this! It is a common belief that doing laundry during the first 2 days of the CNY will mean washing away your good fortune, because you’ll end up provoking the water god. So, yayyy, less housework for the holiday! And to some extent, some Chinese also believe it’s a taboo to wash your hair on the first day of CNY, because hair (发 fǎ) is the same character as in fācái (发财), which means ’to become wealthy’. So, it is also seen as a taboo to “wash one’s fortune away” at the beginning of the New Year.
Let’s all avoid these 10 taboos and start the next year with good fortune and luck! Gong Xi Fa Cai! 🙂