10 Things You Should Never Do At Chinese New Year

You did what?

Eyes full of disbelieve and surprise were starring at me. Its the second day of Chinese New Year celebrations last year. And I am not sure of what crime I had just committed.

I had met a couple of friends for Yusheng (Read: Chinese New Year Threw The Eyes Of An Expat (Part 1) and was proudly presenting my four new books that I got me as part of my New Years Resolution, reading more instead of sitting in front of my Laptop. So far a good start into the New Year… at least thats what I thought.

In the eyes of my friends I had just doomed myself. And not only once, but kind of “double doomed” would be the best expression. To keep it short, best would have probably been to run home, lock myself in a air tight room and wait until the year had passed by, hoping I was still alive.

What had happened here? I will explain it to you…

The Complication Of NOT Doing Something Wrong

As in every culture there are certain things, habits, customs, call them whatever you want, that one should avoid, if (provided you believe in these supernatural things which I honestly don’t) you don’t want to loose all your money, get first cancer and then divorced the next day.

Black cats on a streetPhoto by Fotographics.ca

In Europe for example, one will lose his job or wife for totally reasonable things like “seeing black cats“, “walking under ladders” or “breaking a mirror“.
In Asia you will find other “things” you should avoid, especially around Chinese New Year, after you successfully cleaned the house of bad ghosts and if possible your mind as well. (And I thought that voice talking to me all day would be normal)

The Top 10 Of Bad Luck

Finally revealing what I did so wrong, scaring my friends away, here the list of things one should avoid around Chinese New Year.

  • 1. Buying books is bad luck because the character for “book” (書/书) is a homonym to the character for “lose” (輸/输).
  • 2. Offering anything in fours, as the number four (四), pronounced sì, can sound like “death” (死) in Chinese.

We have only covered the first two points and i will already die and preferably lose all my belongings before that, because i bought four books… Now you know why my friends didnt want to touch or talk to me that day

  • 3. Buying a pair of shoes is considered bad luck. The character for “shoe” (鞋) is a homophone for the character 諧/谐, which means “rough” in Cantonese; in Mandarin it is also a homophone for the character for “evil” (邪).
  • 4. Getting a hair-cut in the first lunar month puts a curse on maternal uncles. Therefore, people get a hair-cut before the New Year’s Eve.
  • 5. Washing your hair is also considered to be washing away one’s own luck
  • 6. Sweeping the floor is usually forbidden on the first day, as it will sweep away the good fortune and luck for the new year.
  • 7. Saying words like “finished” and “gone” is inauspicious on the New Year, so sometimes people would avoid these words by saying “I have eaten my meal so that it disappeared” rather than say “I have finished my meal.”
  • 8. Talking about death is inappropriate for the first few days of Chinese New Year, as it is considered inauspicious.
  • 9. Avoid clothes in black and white, as black is a symbol of bad luck, and white is a traditional Chinese funeral colour.
  • 10. Foul language is inappropriate during the Chinese New Year.

I Am Doomed Indeed

Considering the above list i might as well be the devil in person. As far as I remember I bought a pair of new shoes around Chinese New Year last year and even got me a new haircut short after because I didn’t wanted to scare my friends at the Chinese New year gatherings away by looking like Bob Marley.
Not to talk of washing my hair every morning of course.

To be honest, the only thing that really makes sense to me is the last point. Avoiding of Foul Language. I guess this will make you unlucky every time you use it. Either in front of the bouncer of Zouk or your wife.

I will go back now an pet my black cat. Good night.




Yeah, im watching out this year, dont need to be any more unlucky this year :)

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