Chinese people take Spring Festival (Chinese Lunar New Year) as the foretaste of the whole year's fortune. For the sake of a safe and smooth year, people practice many New Year customs and taboos in folk China. For example, washing hair, putting on ragged clothes, and turning pockets inside out. Let's learn the taboos and superstitions during the Spring Festival.
1. Ominous words, such as break, damage, no, death, empty, ghost, kill, ill, and poor, should be avoided.
2. The cry of children, which is a sign of disease and misfortune, should be avoided, or it will bring bad luck to the family. Therefore, parents should do everything they can to keep their children from crying.
3. No dirty words. In some places, once a kid say something dirty, his or her parent will immediately say: "please take no offense at a child's babble".
1. No watering, cleaning or dumping. This is for the meaning of ''gathering money''. The cleaning should be finished before the New Year's Eve to clean away the dirt and the old of the past year and usher in the new. During the festival, any sweeping should be avoided. From the New Year's Day to the 5th day of the first lunar month, it is a taboo to sweep the trash out or pour water out, otherwise the good luck will be taken away.
2. No dressing in ragged or broken clothes, especially for children in the first lunar month. Otherwise, they will invite bad luck. Also, it is a taboo to dress in white or black clothes which are usually associated with traditional mourning dress.
3. The breaking of tool or other utensils during the Chinese New Year symbolizes financial losses in the coming year and it should be avoided. Extreme care shall be exercised while taking a cup, dish or bowl to avoid breaking. Once something is broken, people present should say something auspicious, such as ''to break is great for next year'' to make up.
4. No empty rice jar because it is a bad omen for the Chinese New Year.
5. No lending to others on the New Year's Day. All debts shall be settled before the New Year's Eve. It is a taboo to ask for payment of debt on the New Year's Day, or everything will go wrong in the year.
6. No taking something out of others' pockets. Chinese people believe that they will get hollowed out throughout the whole year once the pocket is emptied on the New Year's Day.
7. No going to hospital. It is said that people going to hospital during the Spring Festival will eaten up with diseases. Unless emergency, going to hospital should be avoided.
8. It is not good to have a person die during the Chinese New Year or hold a funeral because it will bring bad luck to the family.
9. No killing. Otherwise, it will lead to bloody disaster. So, the Chinese usually slaughter chicken or duck before the Spring Festival.
1. It is a taboo to take medicine on the New Year's Day. Otherwise, the whole year will be full of diseases and pills.
2. No meat for the breakfast of New Year's Day. One saying goes that the effect of practicing abstinence from meat is equal to the whole year; another goes that it shows the frugality in household management.
Taboos to be Observed from Chinese New Year's Eve to the 10th Day
The ancestor worship before the family reunion dinner should be participated by all family members with complete offerings for the meaning of family reunion and complete wealth. No noise or curse is allowed during the worship. Otherwise, it will be a disrespect to the ancestors. The reunion dinner should not be disturbed or visited by other people, or the whole family will enjoy no peace. Traditionally, people should stay up all night rather than go to sleep early on New Year's Eve; say lucky rather than dirty words. It is a taboo to overturn the oil bottle on New Year's Eve. Therefore, parents often try their best to keep their children from overturning the oil bottle, which will offend the Kitchen God and bring them bad luck.
Chinese New Year's Day
As the first day of the lunar year, Chinese New Year's Day has more taboos, such as pouring water out, sweeping, dumping, getting in by the back door, using knife, scissor or needle, washing clothes, breaking utensils, lending to others, punishing children, taking a snap, and washing hair. In Chinese language, ''hair'' is the same character with ''making a fortune'' and it is ominous to wash away the fortune.
The 2nd Day
On the 2nd Day of the first lunar month, married daughters would go back to visit parents with husbands. It is a taboo to prepare gifts in singular; ''I have it'', other than ''no, I don't need it'', is recommended to refuse a statue or painting of God of Wealth.
The 3rd Day
No visiting others because it is more likely to quarrel with others on this day. Also, it is a taboo to go out or entertain guests. It is better to light out and go to bed early.
The 4th Day
No going out. A folk saying goes that the Kitchen God would check on household occupants on this day, so going out should be avoided.
The 5th Day
Visiting relatives and friends, combing hair and using needle are taboos for the 5th day. Since 5 is an odd number, lotus root (homophonic with even) should not be eaten on this day. Also, it is a taboo to break ground, which will lead to disaster.
The 6th Day
No taboos and it is an auspicious day to feast or visit friends, travel and go shopping.
The 7th Day
It is the Human Day, on which people should respect each other and avoid using needle or punishing kids.
The 10th Day
It is the Stone Day and the stone tools, such as grind and mill, should be avoided.