There are lots of things to know about when it comes to culture. Just like any other Asian culture, the Chinese are particular when it comes to certain things, especially during one of the biggest celebration of the year; Chinese New Year.
Of course, not everyone would know what should or should not be done during this festive season. So, here’s a list of pantang larang for you to take note of when visiting your Chinese friends’ houses.
1. Cannot Wear Black Clothes
It’s a big NO NO to wear black clothes on the first day of Chinese New Year as many Chinese believes that black stands for death and unluckiness.
So, when we visit relatives’ and friends’ houses, remember to wear brighter coloured clothes such as red, yellow, pink, orange, etc.
2. Cannot Break Glass and Plates
For some culture, breaking glass and plates will bring good luck but for Chinese traditions, it will bring bad luck as they believe that it will ‘break’ away all the income and money that comes into your wallet.
Hence, if you do break any plates or glass on the first day of Chinese New Year, what you can do is use a piece of red paper to wrap the broken plates or glass, and say phrases that can bring good luck.
For example sui sui ping an (岁岁平安) which means be safe for a lifetime. Then, throw the broken item into the rubbish after keeping it for five days.
3. Cannot Jolt People Awake
If somebody overslept on the first day of Chinese New Year, remember not to jolt them awake. Chinese traditions believe that it will cause them to be rushed around for the rest of the year.
4. Cannot Say Bad Words
Chinese people are very particular with the choice of words used during Chinese New Year.
They do not like words such as “die”, “lose”, ‘sick’ or ‘break’. They believe that all these words will bring bad luck all year long, so when we visit relatives and friends’ houses, remember not to mention these things.
The word ‘Huat’ is a must use word during this festive holiday because it means prosperity. So spread this word around to make people happy.
5. Cannot Wash Clothes
Many Chinese believe that the God of Water’s birthday is on the first and second day of Chinese New Year, hence it will spell trouble if we do laundry on these two days.
As the Chinese are very superstitious in going against the Gods, it is best not to anger the Gods during this holiday.
6. Cannot Lend or Borrow Money
Chinese traditions believes that by lending money to others, all your income will be dispersed for the rest of the year. And when you borrow money from others, you will end up having to loan money from others for the whole year.
Eh, but receiving ang pow is not a problem lah.
7. Cannot Eat Porridge
Porridge is the symbol of poor people’s food in Chinese culture. If one were to consume this congee during Chinese New Year, it could bring upon poverty unto the person throughout the rest of that year.
8. Cannot Allow Others to Take From Your Pocket
If someone were to take things out of your pocket, it would mean that people will constantly steal from you for the rest of the year. So your pockets will always end up empty.
Try to cover your pockets up, or better yet, don’t wear clothes with pockets. #Hacks
9. Avoid Sharp and Pointy Stuffs
We cannot simply use knives, scissors, and needles on the very first day of Chinese New Year. This is because if we accidentally hurt ourselves, it will bring bad omen for one whole year!
10. Cannot Cook New Dishes
For the first and second day of Chinese New Year, we cannot cook new dishes and because we must finish all the leftovers from Chinese New Year eve first. Otherwise, it will bring bad luck.
11. Married Daughters Are Not Encouraged To Return To The Paternal Home
This is highly discouraged because Chinese traditions believe that it will bring bad luck to the paternal home if married daughters return on the first day of Chinese New Year.
12. Cannot Consume Medicine
If you eat medicine on the first day of Chinese New Year, according to Chinese traditions, you will be sick for the rest of the year as the illness will not be cured.
Hence, unless you are down with any serious ailment, avoid taking any medication on the first day of Chinese New Year.
Just remember these 12 rules and you are all set for a prosperous Chinese New Year celebration!
Xtra would like to wish all of you Gong Xi Fatt Chai and Huat Ahh!!
Written by: Chan Suet Yee