While Chinese New Year is a time of festivity, there are still quite a few superstitions that go without saying to ensure luck will come your way this 2020

The Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year and the Spring Festival, marks the turn of the Chinese lunisolar calendar. This much-celebrated occasion will fall on 25th January to 8th February 2020, about 15 days in total.

In the Philippines, Lunar New Year has long been recognised as one of the biggest and grandest holidays for both the Filipino Chinese community and the Filipinos, with the event largely regarded as a time when families reunite.

Did you know that you are actually not supposed to eat porridge on the first day of the festival? Here are some practices several Filipino Chinese still follow today:

No negative words

During this time, all words with negative connotations, such as death, sick, empty, pain, break, and kill, among others are said to be avoided. They shouldn’t be uttered during the Lunar New Year because it is believed to bring misfortunes onto you or your loved ones. Maintain a positive mindset to usher in good luck!

Leave all doors and windows open

All the good fortune and prosperity need to find their way in! On Chinese New Year, leave all gateways of your home open. It also symbolises getting rid of the old and making way for the new.

Do not eat porridge

It is believed that eating porridge for breakfast on the first day of the festival attracts bad luck. In the past, porridge was considered a staple for those who struggling to make ends meet as rice or barley cost very little. Ergo, it's best not to start the New Year with a non-festive meal.

Do not break ceramics or glass

A broken bowl, glass, plate, vase, or mirror is considered an omen of misfortune or a family conflict in the future. If you happen to break something, immediately pick up all the fragments and wrap it in red paper or cloth, and then throw it away on the fifth day into a lake or river. Some would say, “Sui Sui Ping An”, which asks for peace and safety every year.

Do not clean or sweep

Cleaning or even just sweeping should be done before the beginning of the Spring Festival. Doing the cleaning on the day of the celebration sweeps away bad luck and good fortune.

Avoid using sharp objects

Scissors, knives, needles, or any sharp objects should not be used until the celebration of the Chinese New Year is over. Traditionally, it is to give women a well-deserved break. Using sharp objects also reflects cutting your stream of wealth and success. This is why most hair salons that participate on the occasion are closed.

Avoid taking medicine

Taking any unnecessary medicine during the Chinese New Year can result to sickness throughout the year. Aligned with this superstition, visiting the doctor, undergoing/performing surgery, and getting shots should also be avoided. However, if you have serious sickness, immediate health should always come first.

Do not wear black or white

Chinese New Year is about all things bright and the colour red! The colours black and white are traditionally associated with mourning and must be avoided.

Do not wash clothes (and hair!)

The first two days of the Chinese New Year festival are observed as the birthday of the God of Water. Doing the laundry during these days can offend the gods. Similarly, you also cannot wash your as it means washing one’s fortune away.

Avoid fighting or crying

Arguments should be avoided during the Lunar New Year for a smooth path and healthy relationships the rest of the year. Meanwhile, crying forebodes disease and misfortune, which may bring bad luck to the whole family. But if a child cries, do not reprimand them and try to resolve issues peacefully as possible.

Do not give out odd-numbered ang pao

Numbers are a big deal in Chinese culture. Odd-numbered money gifts are traditionally associated with funerals so make sure to stick to even numbers! Even better if the number of the amount of money you put inside the ang pao or red envelope starts or ends with the number 8 as it boosts luck.

Do not give certain gifts

Some things that we normally gift on a normal holiday actually have a bad meaning in Chinese culture and should not be given as presents on Chinese New Year. Shoes sounds exactly like the Chinese word for bad luck or evil (“xié”), handkerchiefs symbolises farewell, and mirrors attract malicious ghosts.

Stay up late on Chinese New Year’s Eve

After a great reunion dinner, the whole families sit together and chat happily to welcome the arrival of the New Year. Firecrackers and fireworks are let off to scare away inauspicious spirits.

A married daughter is not allowed to visit her parents’ house

After getting married, women are expected to live with her husband. Therefore, she cannot visit her own parents on the first day of the New Year as daughters are viewed as outsiders after marriage. It is said that if they return home on the first day, their parents would be stricken by poverty.

Do not wake someone up

Believe it or not, waking someone up from bed can also bring bad luck. It is believed that that someone will be rushed around and bossed around for the whole year. Let someone get up from bed first before giving your New Year blessings.

© 2022 Tatler Asia Limited. All rights reserved.