“HUAT AH!”: Chinese New Year Traditions and Customs You Should Know
Chinese New Year is just around the corner. As a significant part of the Chinese traditional culture, there are many traditions that are said to affect how your wealth, luck, prosperity, health and happiness will pan out in the year ahead. Following the auspicious activities, it is believed that you will be able to bring in good luck in the year ahead.
Meanwhile, there are also some superstitions and taboos to avoid in hope of fending off misfortunes.
4 Superstitions & Taboos to Avoid During Chinese New Year
Here is a list of no-no for you to take note of:
#1 : Avoid Doing of Needlework
Some believe that doing sewing or knitting during the New Year will lead to unnecessary arguments with family members and neighbours. Another saying has it that doing needlework during the New Year will deplete wealth through the act of cutting the thread.
#2: Avoid breaking any fragile items like glass bottles, bowls, plates, etc.
It is believed that your luck will be “broken” when you break a fragile item like a bottle, a plate, a bowl, or even just a glass or cup, etc. The act of these items breaking is believed to symbolise a split in family relations.
If you happen to break anything, the remedy is to immediately say several auspicious phrase like “碎碎平安(suìsuì píng’ān) safe and sound every year”
#3: Avoid Sweeping or Cleaning
The act of sweeping on New Year’s day is associated with sweeping wealth away. Taking out garbage symbolizes dumping out the good luck or good fortune from the house.
#4: Avoid Using Scissors or Sharp Objects
Using scissors/sharp tools is an omen for possible quarrels with others. Some also believe that the scissors/sharp tools would cut off the road to fortune.
Now that we have highlighted some inauspicious things to avoid, here some some auspicious activities that is believed to bring you good luck…
Chinese New Year Traditions to Follow
#1 New Year’s Eve Reunion Dinner
In case you didn’t know, the Chinese New Year is a significant holiday for the Chinese. It’s a perfect time to feast and reunite with family and friends. Typically, families will gather together for a reunion dinner on New Year’s eve.
Often, you will be able to find steamed fish as part of the diner as the Chinese word for fish (鱼yú ) sounds like the Chinese word “余” (yú) which means “surplus”. It is believed that eating fish will bring wealth in the new year.
#2 Giving Red Packets
Red packets, or otherwise known as “ang bao”, is a red envelope with money in it. This is usually given by adults (usually married couples) and elderly to the young children on New year’s day.
It was believed that the money given will help suppress the evil from the receiver and keep them healthy and longevity.
#3 Cleaning the House
One tradition of Chinese New Year is to do a spring cleaning of the house a few days before the new year starts. The idea is to do a complete cleaning and remove the old to welcome the new. It is also to symbolise that all the bad luck for the past year has been swept away to start a new year of good luck.
#4 Decorating the House
After cleaning the house, most would decorate the house to welcome the new year. Decorations are usually red or golden in colour as they symbolises wealth. Popular decorations features elements like the 财神爷 (cái shén yé) – God of Fortune, the upside down 福 (fu), golden Ingot, coin etc.
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