Chinese New Year Taboos

Chinese New Year Taboos

During the Spring Festival from the first to the fifteenth of the Lunar New Year, rich taboos have been inherited in the historic process. Being invested with cultural tradition, taboos have become as general rules in New Year customs. They play a crucial part in creating the feeling of a joyous festival, relating to every aspect of our lives.

Language Taboos:

Taboos

1. Don’t scold others Especially don’t scold children, because it is considered that if you blame a child on the first day in lunar New Year, he or she will get scolded for the whole year. At the same time, don’t say anything indecent or quarrel with others.

2. Don’t talk about diseases, disasters and unlucky terms, as well as the number four, or mention death.

Behavior Taboos:

1. Don’t go to bed too early:
On New Year’s Eve, people stay up at least until mid-night. It is deemed that the later people stay up, the longer their parents will live.

2. Don’t put on old clothes:
On the first day, a whole family wears new clothes and shoes, making a fresh start to welcome the coming year.

3. Don’t use scissors and needles in the first three days, otherwise, it is bad luck for the entire coming year.

4. Don’t break a mirror, a bowl, or porcelain:
Avoid breaking things or else it will incur misfortune. If someone breaks a dish carelessly, quickly say “Peace for all time”, and the bad luck will turn to good luck.

5. Don’t wash your hair on the first day of the New Year.
This is because the Chinese word for “hair” is a homonym for “wealth”, and people think it is miserable to wash wealth away at the beginning.

6. Avoid sweeping and taking out of garbage.
It is believed that sweeping and taking out of garbage may dump out good fortune by accident. Therefore, people clean the floor from outside to inside.

Food Taboos:

1. Don’t eat up all of the dishes.
People would like to leave some food of the supper on the New Year’s Eve until next day, which demonstrates a well off life. Having a great number of dishes means that a family can have an enjoyable and content festival.

2. Don’t eat meat and congee for breakfast.
On the first day, Chinese people have a vegetarian breakfast, but cannot eat congee, for only the poor ate that in the old days. Besides, people in good health need to avoid taking supplements. These taboos reveal what people fear about such threats of hunger and illness in an arduous life.

Gender Taboos:

1. When worshipping the stove god, women are not allowed to participate.

2. It is regarded as a bad thing if a married woman visits her parents’ home between the 23rd day of the twelfth lunar month and the 2nd day of the New Year.


By Shirley Li
Web Editor