Do’s and Don’t during CNY
Chinese New Year is such an auspicious day to celebrate with the family and friends. Aside from the happy rhythm of the drumming beats of the dragon dance, the fireworks and of course, the red angpow with cash! (I mean what’s CNY without receiving a few angpow here and there right?)
Every celebration is bound to have some sort of restrictions and perks to make sure bad luck doesn’t descend upon one’s life or home. When it comes to what to do or is permissible to do during CNY, here are some of the things you can do to get in the mood.
RED IS KEY
Most of you would have known by now that red is the way to go when it comes to decorating your home and even dressing up! The redder you are, the better the festivity will be. However, don’t go wearing black during this happy time of the year. According to the superstitions by the Chinese, black is associated with death and bad luck. So, if you’re going to visit your friends’ home, it’s best to stick with red and colourful attire.
Orange and Tangerines
What’s New Year without oranges to go along with? Especially at this time of the year, every grocery shops and supermarket will be filled with boxes and boxes of oranges. This particular citrus fruit symbolizes good luck and prosperity, which is why they are seen everywhere. Also, bringing a fruit basket to your relatives or friends house is considered respectful.
Bring on Those Firecrackers
Nothing is ever complete without loud fireworks till the wee hours in the morning. According to Chinese mythology, a man-eating, half dragon half lion named Nian would come down from the mountains and scared and traumatized the villagers during the New Year. Soon enough, they realize he has a weakness for loud noises. Ever since then, firecrackers were used to get rid of Nian. Now, this practice has evolved and is heavily played upon. So, next time if you think your neighbour is being too loud with the firecracker, how about you go ahead and join in the celebration with them?
Be with the family
Holidays are one of the best times for you and your family/relatives to spend time together, whether it be a dinner or a gathering, it is a rare occasion in our busy world. Even though we are so caught up in our own working lifestyle or studying ways, it is important to remember our families. After all, it’s never fun celebrating the holidays alone.
Here are the no-nos during the festivity.
“Got partner already ah?”
Aunties and uncles, for the love of God, stop asking your child or nephews and nieces on when they are going to get themselves a partner or when they are getting married. It’s so much of pressure to them to survive in this world and asking such question may just upset them. Cut them slack, alright?
According to the beliefs of the Chinese, it is a taboo for a person to consume a medicine on the first day of the lunar year, otherwise, it is believed that person will be ill the whole year or barely gain recovery.
Sweeping and dumping garbage
The act of sweeping the house during the CNY celebration is highly prohibited as they believe that this could possibly associate with sweeping or dumping your wealth away. If it is really necessary, the house owner should start sweeping from outside to the inside of the house, which means collecting money.
If you want to spruce yourself up for the celebration, it is advisable to get your hair done before that. If you get a haircut during the Lunar New Year, it indicated the death of their uncle (mother’s brother). Although this sounds illogical, people are glad to abide by this tradition whole-heartily.
While people are gifting each other with the mainstream act of handing a red envelope with cash, it’s also good to know of the other gifts that you should not be giving.
Gifting clocks according to the Chinese is basically timing your death or “attending a funeral parade”. This gift is bad not only for the festivity but also anytime. So, keep a watchful eye on the gift you’re about to deliver.
Mirrors that are broken are already considered bad luck but don’t even think of gifting it as the bad luck becomes compounded even more. This particular superstition believes that mirrors have the power to attract bad spirits and of course nobody wants them at home.
Normally during a funeral, a person generally give handkerchiefs at the end of a funeral and are a symbol of saying goodbye forever. Giving someone this kind of gifts only leading them to think that you are saying goodbye to them forever.
- The number 4
Most Chinese are very well aware of this number. In Chinese, the number four sounds similar to the pinyin word for death. Therefore, anything that has to do with this number is considered unlucky. Hence, why you notice on the floor of buildings are typically replaced with 3A, 13A, 23A and so forth. Giving a gift in sets or multiples of four is also consider taboo-ed.
Customs during Chinese New Year
While decorations, New Year paintings and red lanterns are being set up for the holidays across the globe, there is an important custom that the Chinese people abide by the food and fun kicks in.
Offering Sacrifices to the Ancestors
A popular custom since the ancient times, many flocks to the temple or to their altar at home to pay their respects. Family members kneel and bow in front of the wall-mounted shrine or grave and offer meat, wine, joss sticks and joss papers which are places in front of the shrine/grave. This custom is believed that the ancestral spirits will protect their descendants and make them more prosperous in every aspect of their life.
This normally comes a day before the Lunar New Year where it’s a must do dinner with all the family members reuniting. People from north to south come together to do a sit-down meal with their loved ones.
Listening to a New Year Bell
A bell is a traditional symbol of Chinese New Year, and the Chinese believed that ringing of a large bell can drive all bad luck away and ring in good fortune.
The Chinese New Year celebration is filled with lots and lots of happy moments and is perfect to be shared with the family. May this New Year bring many opportunities to your way and turning your dreams into a reality. Happy Chinese New Year from 2CENTS.