Chinese New Year, or Lunar New Year, is a time for loved ones, rich tradition, mouthwatering dishes, grand parades, and even more, ominous superstitions. Chinese are firm believers of superstitions and luck, especially during the new year. While we often hear sayings like “New Year, new you,” Chinese people believe that what you do during the festival will affect your luck for the entire following year.
So while you’re celebrating, here are some taboos to keep in mind if you want good fortune for the year to come.
Don’t wash your hair on New Year’s day.
You might want to opt for dry shampoo on the first day of the new year because it is believed that washing your hair will also wash your luck away. Hair (发 / fā) shares the same pronunciation as 发财 (fācái) which means to make a fortune, so it is believed that washing your hair will literally wash your fortune away. The same is also thought of washing laundry on that day.
Don’t buy any books.
Make sure you’ve secured all your new reading material prior to the new year because buying books during the festival will make you lose your luck. Book (书 / shū ) is a homonym for lose (失去 / shīqù).
Don’t get swept away.
Hopefully the only thing that will be swept is when you get swept away by the amount of red envelopes you receive! It is believed that sweeping will sweep the luck right out the door so it’s best to keep the broom untouched.
Shoo, shoo, new shoes.
Let’s hope there aren’t any stellar deals on new kicks because saving a few bucks on shoes could cost you future savings. “Shoe” in Cantonese is a homonym for rough, while shoe in Mandarin is a homonym for evil. It is believed that buying shoes during the New Year Festival invites hard times.
Start with a clean slate.
If you owe your friend from lunch or for that ride home after the bars, it’s better to pay up and Venmo them before New Year’s Eve. It’s unlucky to carry debt over the new year, as well as demanding owed money or lending it during the festival.
Avoid loose threads.
There should be no sewing or handling of needles or sharp objects during the new year. Superstition has it that it will cut away your wealth!
Don’t cry me a river.
It is thought that children crying on new year will bring misfortune. Adults should be extra nice to their young ones during the holiday.
It’s not a black tie affair.
Black and white, which are colors worn to funerals and for mourning, should be kept in the closet. During Chinese New Year, everyone wears red, gold, and other bright colors as symbols of wealth, luck, and happiness.
2018 will be the Year of the Dog with Lunar New Year’s Day falling on February 16th. The festival, and therefore many of the superstitions, will last for 15 days. 恭禧发财 / Gong hay fat choy!