9 Chinese New Year taboos to avoid

9 Chinese New Year taboos to avoid

According to traditional Chinese culture, there are many taboos associated with the Lunar New Year. Here are nine things you shouldn't do while celebrating the start of the Year of the Pig

According to traditional Chinese culture, there are many taboos associated with the Lunar New Year. Here are nine things you should avoid – whether you believe them or not, because even if you don't, others might and why ruin someone else's holiday? – during this festive holiday.


Don’t borrow money or collect debt

Many Chinese people believe in paying off all their debts and starting the new year with a clean slate to avoid being plagued with bills or money troubles throughout the year.

Don’t buy new shoes

the character for "shoes" is a homonym for “rough” in Cantonese. It is believed those who buy new footwear during the 16 days of the Lunar New Year are in for a rough time for the rest of the year.  Also, avoid gifting shoes as it is said to bring both the giver and receiver bad luck all year round.

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Don’t eat congee for breakfast

Even though congee is a popular breakfast food for many Hongkongers, it is regarded as a sign of poverty as, in the past, only the wealthy could afford to eat rice and noodles on the morning of New Year’s Day.

Don’t use sharp objects

Pointy and sharp objects such as scissors and knives are considered inauspicious, as they slice off good luck. For the same reason, some people also avoid going to the hairdressers.

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Don’t wash your hair

Some people believe that washing your hair will wash away all your good luck for the year. Others take it to the extreme and avoid showering altogether ... your call. 

Don’t nap  

Some believe those who nap during Lunar New Year celebrations and house visits are more likely to be lazy and unproductive for the rest of the year. It is also considered rude to sleep when guests are around. Well, that's true, isn't it?  

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Don’t sweep the floor or throw away garbage

Sweeping or throwing away garbage on New Year’s Day is said to be unlucky as good luck and fortune might accidently be swept and dumped out.  

Don’t wake up those who are asleep

There is also the belief that those who are woken up by someone on the first day of Lunar New Year will constantly be ordered around for the rest of the year. They will also have to work non-stop. Lesson: let people sleep!

Don’t talk about death and ghosts

Any mention of death, dying and ghosts is considered inauspicious, especially during Lunar New Year. It is also best to avoid watching horror films. Some even carry tokens such as coins and amulets to ward off bad fortune for the rest of the year.

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