Chinese New Year is a time of togetherness, celebration and a cash cow for many, but it can be tricky to navigate the landscape of superstitions and etiquette if you’re new to it all. You can refer to this quick guide to ensure you don’t royally put your foot in it this festive season! You’re welcome.
Do wear new clothes. Getting new threads symbolises welcoming a new start, but make sure you’re not draped in black or white which is the customary colour worn during funerals. You’re safest in red or gold!
Don’t forget to show up without a gift when visiting friends or relatives. It’s customary to bring biscuits or chocolates, but almost any gift is appreciated in this day and age.
Do wash your hair the day before new years day! It is believed that washing your hair on the first day of new years symbolises the washing away of all your good fortune. Best stick to dry shampoo if you must!
Don’t buy shoes during the holidays! “Shoe” in Cantonese is a homonym for rough, whilst shoe in Mandarin is a homonym for evil. Chinese believe that buying shoes during the New Year festivities invites hard times, so its best to avoid even though they’ll be massive discounts around.
Do give out lai see or red packets even if you’re not married. Whilst you don’t have to give it out to everyone, you should pass it out to the guard downstairs or the waiter at your local dim sum joint, show a little love with lai see. As for how much you give, that’s down to how generous you’re feeling, just remember it should always be even numbers and not odd.
Don’t leave your house a mess. Before the festivities even begin your flat should be spick and span to start the new year right. Known as sweeping away the bad luck of last year, you should go into the Year of the Dog with a lemon-fresh apartment.
Do eat dumplings! With their resemblance to money bags, dumplings are a choice food to bring you wealth this year.
Don’t kill! Something that should be on your no-no list in general but blood is a bad omen when it comes to the new year and can bring great misfortune
Do learn a few key phrases, try these out:
新年快乐！(Sun Leen Fai Lok)
Have a Happy New Year!
年年有餘 (Leen Leen Yao Yu)
“May you have abundance every year.”
新年進步 (Sun Leen Zhun Bo)
“May the New Year bring much better things.”
步步高升 (Bo Bo Gou Sing)
“May every step take you higher.”
身体健康 (Sun Tai Geen Hong)
“Wish you good health.”
Home Kong wishes you a Happy Chinese New Year!