Top 6 Chinese New Year superstitions for 2023
Chinese New Year superstitions have been around for centuries and play an important role in planning the holiday. While some customs may be outdated and no longer practised, others are still held by families worldwide as they gather to celebrate the start of a new lunar year.
Whether it's performing rituals before ringing in the festival or avoiding particular words, colours, foods, and activities during this time of luck and fortune, traditional Chinese New Year superstitions remain deeply embedded in many cultures throughout the world.
We'll take a look at some of these superstitions—which will help you plan your festivities accordingly!
Don't sweep or take out the garbage.
One reason behind the superstition against sweeping or taking out the garbage during Chinese New Year is because it symbolises pushing away good luck. Sweeping or throwing away garbage implies that you are getting rid of something valuable, which could also mean you are getting rid of potential prosperity and fortune.
Another reason behind not sweeping or taking out the garbage is because it can cause conflict between family members. During Chinese New Year, any kind of household chore, such as sweeping or taking out the garbage, can disrupt this peaceful atmosphere.
Sweeping also symbolises ridding your home of bad spirits, which can lead to arguments between family members if one person thinks another isn't respecting the tradition enough. To prevent any kind of conflict from occurring, it's best to avoid any kind of sweeping or garbage disposal during this period altogether.
No odd amounts of lucky money.
Chinese New Year is known to be a time of luck and prosperity. Many traditions are upheld during this holiday, such as giving so-called 'red envelopes' with money inside to family and friends as symbols of luck. It is believed that one should not give any odd amount of money in a red envelope, as it is seen as superstitious and bad luck.
To show your good wishes, an even amount between 1-99 is advised since it will bring good fortune to the recipient in the new year. Red envelopes are just one of many Chinese New Year customs; further research reveals that the folkways instilled during this holiday carry deep history and significance for its people.
Avoid breaking a bowl, plate, glass, etc.
Have you ever wondered why certain superstitions exist surrounding the breaking of plates, bowls, glassware, and other breakables? It's a strange thing to think about, but there are some interesting origins behind this superstition. Let's take a look at why it exists and how it has evolved over time.
The roots of these Chinese New Year superstitions can be traced back to ancient China time; when a plate or glass was broken in a home, it meant that evil spirits were entering the house. To ward off these malevolent entities, people would throw salt on the floor where the item was broken. This practice was thought to repel bad luck and hostile energies from entering their homes.
Another origin for this superstition is related to financial fortune. In many cultures throughout history, breaking a dish or cup was seen as an omen of poverty or distress. It was believed that if one broke a glass or cup in their home, it meant that they would suffer financial losses in the near future.
In modern times, this superstition has had different interpretations depending on where you are located in the world. Ultimately, it has different meanings based on cultural beliefs and practices around the world.
Avoid lending and borrowing money.
One tradition to keep in mind is the importance of avoiding lending or borrowing money during this festive period. There are several financial implications associated with such activity that can have serious repercussions if not observed.
The practice of lending and borrowing money during the Chinese New Year is frowned upon for two reasons. Firstly, it goes against the spirit of the festival, which celebrates good luck and fortune, hence why it's considered bad luck to lend or borrow money at this time.
Secondly, the act of lending or borrowing money has some negative connotations attached to it – not least because it can lead to conflict between people who are connected in some way (e.g., friends, and family members).
Don't wear damaged clothes.
There are strict traditional rules about what type of clothing you should wear during Chinese New Year, including avoiding damaged or old clothes. Let's take a look at why this rule exists and how it applies to modern life.
In ancient China, clothing was seen as both practical and symbolic. The colours and designs of clothes were carefully chosen based on their meaning as well as their beauty. As such, wearing clean clothes on special occasions was a sign of respect for yourself as well as others around you.
Another reason why it's important to wear clean clothes during Chinese New Year is that the holiday itself symbolises renewal and fresh beginnings. Wearing old or worn-out clothes can be seen as a sign that you are clinging onto the past instead of embracing the future. Although some traditional customs have evolved over time, it's still important to maintain proper etiquette when attending celebrations like Chinese New Year.
Don't give certain gifts.
As you prepare to give a gift to your family or friends this year, it is important to consider the cultural significance of some items and avoid those that have a negative connotation. Read on for a list of what not to buy when gifting during Chinese New Year.
Sharp objects are also seen as bad luck during Chinese New Year and should be avoided when giving gifts. This includes knives, scissors, lighters, needles, razors and any other sharp objects which could potentially cause harm or injury.
These items symbolise cutting ties with people and are thought to bring bad luck if given as gifts during the festive season. Gifting clocks is also considered rude in many parts of China because the word for "clock" sounds similar to the word for "end".
Therefore giving someone a clock could signify that your relationship with them is coming to an end or that their life is ending soon – certainly not something you want your loved ones to believe! As such, it's best to avoid buying clocks as gifts during the Chinese New Year.
Though Chinese New Year is a time for family, food, and fun, there are also a number of traditions and superstitions associated with the holiday. From not sweeping the floor to not giving certain gifts, these common customs are meant to bring good luck in the year to come. What other precautions do you take during the Chinese New Year? Share your thoughts and experiences with us!