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Five superstitions regarding the first day of Chinese New Year

Superstitions and traditions related to prosperity are surprisingly prevalent in this day and age.

Meagan Goh
Meagan Goh

Afraid of cats, but learning to be brave. Would rather live in a fairytale.


Published: 2 February 2021, 2:59 PM

Redefined by the pandemic once again, this year’s Chinese New Year is definitely lacking in terms of feels. Although things are going to be different this year, one thing that will remain unchanged are the Chinese New Year taboos. 

As a somewhat firm believer of feng shui (because of my parents), I’ve always been rather superstitious. 

In order not to have bad luck for the rest of the year, here are five things I’ll be avoiding on the first day of Chinese New Year: 

1. Washing hair and clothes

Washing your hair on the first day of Chinese New Year is seen as washing your fortune and good luck away. This is because both hair and wealth are pronounced and written as ‘fa’ (发) in the Chinese language. 

Hence, the Chinese believe that washing your hair is equivalent to washing away your fortune at the beginning of the new year. 

 

Wash your hair the night before or use dry shampoo to avoid your hair from greasing. PHOTO CREDIT: KAROLINA GRABOWSKA VIA PEXELS

 

Washing your clothes on the first two days of Chinese New Year is also said to bring about bad luck as these two days are celebrated as the birthday of the water god, also known as Shui Shen in Chinese.

2. Eating porridge

Porridge should not be eaten for breakfast because the Chinese believe that porridge is associated with poverty. 

Having porridge for breakfast is thus a bad omen as it suggests that you’re starting the year off ‘poor’. 

Instead, have food such as fish, dumplings and glutinous rice cakes as they are believed to bring good luck for the coming year. 

 

Longevity noodles is also auspicious as it symbolises happiness and longevity. PHOTO CREDIT: MMW189 VIA UNSPLASH

3. Sweeping or taking out garbage

I’m sure this has been said time and time again. Sweeping on the first day of Chinese New Year is a big no-no as it is seen as sweeping your wealth away. 

This is why spring cleaning should be done before Chinese New Year in order to avoid this inauspicious practice. 

Floors may be swept after the first day, however, they are to be swept in a special way – to the middle of the room first, then to the corner, and the dust is not to be taken out until the fifth day. 

Similarly for garbage, taking out the trash symbolises dumping out the good luck and fortune in the house. 

 

Garbage should only be taken out after the fifth day of Chinese New Year. PHOTO CREDIT: RODNAE PRODUCTIONS VIA PEXELS

4. Doing needlework

Needlework should not be done on the first day of Chinese New Year. In fact, scissors and knives are to be avoided as well, for that matter. 

This is because using sharp objects is said to cut away all your good luck and cause the depletion of wealth in the coming year. 

 

It’s best to get your clothes tailored and all needlework done before Chinese New Year. PHOTO CREDIT: COTTONBRO VIA PEXELS

5. Saying ‘unlucky’ words

Swearing and saying words with negative meanings (death, ghosts, etc.) are also said to bring about bad luck for the rest of the year. 

Bad mouthing or gossiping should also be avoided, although it can be tough to do so during gatherings with relatives you see only once a year. 

 

Sometimes it’s hard to avoid a little gossip as there’s just so much to share and catch up on. PHOTO CREDIT: SAMLION VIA PEXELS

 

According to the Chinese, being kind and saying nice things will help bring good luck and joy to you. 

Now that you know what not to do, remember what you should do – spread love and joy and have a blast with your loved ones this festive season. Happy Chinese New Year everyone! 


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