Chinese New Year 2024: Taboos and superstitions to avoid - Hindustan Times
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Chinese New Year 2024: Taboos and superstitions to avoid

Feb 08, 2024 06:05 PM IST

Follow these dos and don'ts as per Chinese New Year taboos and superstitions. Here's a list of what to avoid!

You may recognise the Chinese New Year 2024 by many names, such as the Lunar New Year 2024 or, if we're more specific to this year, the Year of the Wood Dragon. On the same page, a long list of taboos and cultural superstitions are also associated with this celebration.

A couple takes a selfie with a giant dragon lantern decorated near the frozen Houhai Lake in Beijing, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024. Chinese will celebrate Lunar New Year on Feb. 10 this year which marks the Year of the dragon on the Chinese zodiac. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)(AP)
A couple takes a selfie with a giant dragon lantern decorated near the frozen Houhai Lake in Beijing, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024. Chinese will celebrate Lunar New Year on Feb. 10 this year which marks the Year of the dragon on the Chinese zodiac. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)(AP)

The Spring Festival is the most important festival observed in the Sinosphere (Chinese-influenced countries). As per the insights offered by Confucius Institute teacher Wang Qixia, Chinese people categorise all things happening during the festivities as either good signs or bad omens for the rest of the year to come.

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People especially exercise caution at this time regarding their words and actions that could bring bad luck to them later. While these taboos don't hold any scientific significance, they are seen as ways to avoid evil.

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Taboos to avoid during Chinese New Year 2024

  1. Rule out unlucky words like 'death', 'illness,' 'loss', 'sick', 'pain', 'poor', 'empty' and more from your vocabulary. According to common belief, saying these words during the festival may get you stuck with them for the entire year and bring you misfortune.
  2. Avoid scolding children during the festival. It may become a pattern for the whole year, and they may need to be constantly reprimanded afterwards. Resolve any arising issues peacefully. Don't give in to fighting.
  3. To avoid being sad all the time, forget about grieving around the festival time.
  4. Cutting hair is a strict no-no. Its resulting consequence could be a curse on your uncle.
  5. Try your best not to break glass or porcelain. If you do, wrap it with red paper while chanting favourable phrases. Throw this waste clad in red into a lake after the New Year.

Don't pressure someone to pay off debt. Similarly, don't borrow money either.

Don't sweep or clean during the Spring Festival celebration. It's seen as synonymous with your good luck being swept away.

Don't shower on Chinese New Year's Day.

  1. Stay away from sharp objects like scissors, needles, knives and others.
  2. Some taboos are also associated with gift-giving habits. While it's a common practice to come to someone's place bearing gifts, some are forbidden. The Chinese lettering of 'clocks' is similar to paying last respects. Pears are also a homophone of separation. Avoid gifting these two items (not just during the New Year festival).

Some other Chinese New Year taboos to avoid on New Year's Eve

  1. In Chinese, 'Fish' is pronounced similarly to 'abundance'. Therefore, avoid eating fish head or tail at all costs. Leaving some fish on New Year's Eve for the next day signifies that you will have plenty of wealth for the following year.
  2. Your rice jar should not be empty on the big Eve. This is done to guarantee that you're not subjected to hunger next year.

Don't go to bed early on New Year's Eve. Stay up late to keep the 'Sui' monster (legend says that the sui demon would terrorise children on the Chinese New Year) away.

Even though you may not be able to comprehend these cultural differences, they're all firmly held beliefs of the Chinese people. Respecting cultural differences is the first step to any festival celebration with diverse gatherings. Respect these cultural wishes regardless of what you may feel about these rules because peace is all anyone wants. The Chinese New Year 2024 will be celebrated on February 10.

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