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Monday, January 27, 2014

Chinese New Year Traditions

Hi Friends! It's Jo again from White Roses and Coffee. Thanks to Kim who invited me to talk more about Chinese traditions. In the last post, I shared some Chinese pregnancy superstitions. Chinese New Year is just around the corner (Jan 31) so I will be talking about customs and taboos revolving around Chinese New Year. This time of year is not only about delectable food but there is also a hefty list of taboos which affect the Chinese all around the world. I've already written a post on some of the CNY traditions on my blog last year but I'd like to add in more which have been passed on to me from the matriarchs of my family. There are tons of them -so please brace yourself! LOL!

Clean The House 
Having a clean home is crucial if you want good energy and prosperity in the New Year. 

Forbidden Words
On the first day of Chinese New Year, you are not allowed to say "die", "break", "gone", and "poor". 
These are considered unlucky words. Keep positive at all times. 
Refrain from using the word "four" because in Chinese, it means "to die". 

 Don't Cry
Never cry on the first day. This applies to everyone. If you cry on New Year's Day, you'll be crying all year long. 

Don't Buy Any Reading Material
Do not buy any reading material, especially books, because "book" is a homonym for 'lose'.  
Bookstores are not opened during the first few days of CNY. 

Trash = Treasure
Trash is treated like treasure. You may only throw away the trash on the fifth day of CNY. 

According to Chinese mythology, there is a monster named "Nian". He's half-lion and half dragon and would eat humans. In order to scare him away, the people would use firecrackers. This has become a prominent CNY tradition. 

 Stay Up Late
Children are encouraged to stay up late on the eve of the New Year. 
This is to "guard the years" for their parents so that the parents can live longer. 

 Release Animals
It is also recommended to release bird, fish, or any animal in captivity. This is believed to bring good luck throughout the year.  One should also refrain from slaughtering animals on the first day of CNY. 

 Don't Nap
To prevent laziness, one should not take a nap on New Year's Day. 

Pay Off All Your Debt 
Old debt is like a bad omen for New Year. Do not lend or borrow any money. 

No Knives. No Scissors.
Refrain from using knifes and scissors as it is believed that it may cut off fortune! 

Red Envelope Rule
Do give red envelopes (stuffed with money) to children and unmarried adults. 
You only do this if you are married. This is to "spread the luck" to whomever receives it. 

Do Not Give Any Taboo Gifts 
This includes clocks (escorting someone to the grave), green hats especially to men (means infidelity), pears (sounds like separation), shoes (sounds like a sigh) and handkerchiefs (used in funerals). 

 Do Not Cut Your Hair
Nothing should be cut during Chinese New Year. Whatever you do - wait til after the new year for that trim! 

Do Not Wash Your Hair
Don't wash your hair as the Chinese word for hair is a homophone for "wealth". 
Therefore, the Chinese believe that it will wash away the good luck for the upcoming year. 

Do Not Wear Black Or White 
It's reserved for funerals. Red is the lucky color. New clothes signify a new start; new change...whip out that new blazer! 

Buy A New Pair Of Pants
The word "trousers" is a homonym for wealth. 

Eat Your Sweets! 
Stock up on candies so you can have a SWEET year. 

Oranges and Tangerines
Oranges and tangerines are popular during CNY. They symbolize good luck and prosperity. 

Eat "Nian Gao" (Year Cake) 
It symbolizes that one should "grow higher in each coming year". 

Eat Noodles
Eat LOTS of noodles and make sure they are not cut. Slurp up all the stringy goodness! 

 Do Not Eat Congee
One should not eat congee as the first meal. 
It's considered that only poor people have it for breakfast which means you will be poor throughout the year.

 Vegetarian Food
The first meal on CNY is vegetarian food. Consuming meat is considered bad luck. 

 Don't Argue. Don't Shout.
Like Thanksgiving dinner, everyone sits together for dinner on New Year's Eve.  
During this time, it's imperative that everyone should not argue or shout at each other. 

 Eat Fish
Eat plenty of fish and abalone because they contain the words "yu" which means abundance. 

 Don't Break Glassware
One should not break any glassware during CNY as it signifies potential arguments within the home. 

Don't Break Chopsticks
Breaking chopsticks is considered bad luck because it signifies the breaking of relationships. 

Full Rice Container
...and last but not least, it is bad luck to have a empty rice container.  
Make sure you fill it up before the celebration.

Of all these superstitions, there is one that bugs me up to today. It is that a married daughter is forbidden to visit the house of her parents. This is believed that it will cause economic hardship for the family. I think this is ridiculous but I still obey it. Gosh, if only my mom wasn't so superstitious - life would be so much easier! Anyway, hope you guys enjoy reading this! If you see Chinese people during this joyous holiday, make sure you wish them "Gung Hay Fat Choy" which translates to "Have a Prosperous New Year". Thanks for reading!

 Gung Hay Fat Choy = Have A Prosperous New Year
Year Of The Horse 2014

written by: Jo of White Roses and Coffee // pictures added by: Kim of A Very Sweet Blog
picture credit: instagram (names on picture)
Thank You Jo for writing such an informative post! You did an awesome job and I thank you! 
Several years ago, I incorporated Chinese New Year traditions into my life. They really helped me. 
They're excellent practices, that can benefit anyone. 
It's CNY Week on A Very Sweet Blog! 
Stay tuned to LEARN more...


  1. Oooh, this is such a cool list of New Year traditions! I definitely love the eat sweets one ;)

    The Dragonfruit Diaries

  2. nice post, tahnk you, I read all of it :)

  3. Great post ....very interesting to learn new facts about different cultures and traditions:)

  4. lol. You know us Chinese people - we're full of rules :O) Fantastic (guest) post! I enjoy White Roses and Coffee too. Her blog is full of wonderful fashion inspo.

  5. great post and photos!
    have a wonderful week!


  6. Thank you for sharing! Such a great read. I will probably have to write every rule down and tick them off one by one as the day goes by. :)

  7. Such an interesting post. I learnt so much;-)

  8. These are awesome, love learning these things!! So cool. I would need these written down for sure, because I would forget some of them. But, very interesting to read :)) Happy Monday doll xx

  9. This is so interesting! It's so nice to know about other cultures! (although China is basically our neighboring country)


  10. Hi Kim! Wow, Im really impressed by what Jo wrote, she did an amazing job, congrats to her! I actually havent any ideas about these traditions and would love to apply too and also to celebrate the CNY on 31th. Im staying tuned to read more about it this week. Happy Monday dear! xo

  11. Oh, there were some traditions here I did not know about, like the using a knife one!

    Although last CNY I was just out of hospital so my family no doubt gave me a pass on requesting a knife with dinner - I'll make sure not to do that this time!

    This is a good reminder that I need to find something red to wear for our CNY feast!

    Away From Blue

  12. That's such an interesting post. Love learning other people's traditions. Thanks for sharing and happy Monday ladies,

  13. It's an interesting post, I like learn something about other traditions!
    Happy new year!!!
    xxx Alita

  14. Ohhh I've never heard of nearly any of these things! We don't have many Chinese where I live (more Korean centric) so I've never gotten to see Chinese New Year traditions. It was really interesting learning all these...I'd love to try it out lol but I think I would probably say those numbers or cut something right away >...> thanks for this post :D I hope you post pictures of your New Years celebration!

  15. Holly Molly,I hail those who follow these ideas,gosh they just too much,traditions and their beliefs. Africans do have theirs too, it's just too weird to involve onself. I try to abstain from people who believe in them, they can be really catchy and becomes addiction.
    I realy enjoyed this post,they got me cracking so bad. loll but mind you i respet peoples beliefs but i don't like involving in such,my brain can't occupy such things lol..
    Happy Monday babes.

  16. What a great post! I love reading about other country's traditions!

    Have a great week!

  17. Happy Chinese New Year, Kim and Jo:) My husband's Chinese, so this is a big deal for our family. Thanks for sharing all these traditions. I didn't even know some of them!!!!
    Happy Monday, ladies.

  18. Great post dear! I love to learn something new!


  19. Thank you Jo for sharing your traditions! The one about the nap would be hard for me, because I love napping during holidays. I love the one about candies and I bet Kim does too.
    Coco et La vie en rose
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  20. This was so interesting to learn about! We eat sweet foods for the Jewish New Year too...neat to see a similarity!

    The Tiny Heart
    Headband Giveaway!

  21. such an interesting thing...never knew all this about chinese new year...thanks for sharing!

  22. Hello Jo! Interesing Post ,love it :)
    Great Work!!!


  23. Great guest post, this was very insightful into CNY traditions, I am always interesting in learning more about other cultures. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on my last post, thank you!

  24. Gung Hay Fat Choy, Jo and Kim!

    This was a great post, I'm amazed by all the traditions related to CNY - I think I would need to keep a list in my pocket to remember them all haha
    Someof them are really nice and I think that from now on I'll try to do some spring clean just in time for the CNY. And I won't cry or cut my hair before the new year :)

  25. So fun to read this! I love all the mindfulness and intention setting that comes with these little rituals! I'm thinking next year I need to get a red dress to celebrate CNY!
    xo Mary Jo

  26. AWESOMEsauce. I've learned most of these in my researching on how to celebrate the new year but I LOVE LOVE LOVE the list and may share it on my blog. :)

  27. Great post, I love to get to know something about different traditions and I have no idea about these New Year's traditions, thanks for sharing :)

  28. Such an interesting read! I love reading about traditions and cultures. My mom used to tell me that broken mirrors bring bad luck so when I saw that line in this post, it made me think of her. Thanks to Jo and Kim for sharing this fun and interesting post. Loved reading it! Hope you two have an amazing year ahead! :)

    Heel in Mint

  29. Fun read, Kim. My grandparents were Chinese but I dont follow the tradition as well as them. There are certain things here I have no clue about. I remember waking up to the loud and obnoxious sound of firecrackers in my neighborhood every morning on CNY when living back home. My highlight of the day was of course the red envelop.

  30. Great post Jo, I found it really interesting!

  31. Great post and also reminders for us who believes. I was watching an Asian show last week and it is the same with this post as to the do's and don'ts.Thanks for sharing.


  32. I love that you picked to wear red this year! That's fabulous!

  33. Such an interesting and informative post! I kind of want to practice some of these, but I think I would have an anxiety attack trying to remember it all, lol.

  34. Thanks for sharing, such lovely traditions!

    always, koru kate

  35. Very interesting post! I haven't heard all this information before.
    Thanks for sharing Jo!

  36. Those traditions are nice and sweet :)
    I didn't know that Chinese weren't allowed to wash their hair on NYE :)
    I want to wish all Chinese a happy new year :)

    Svetlana from Lavender Star

  37. I was curious for this post from Instagram :) I had no idea all of this existed! Thank you for sharing all these (I was really surprised by the 'no crying rule' ) and who knows maybe next year I'll try to participate haha :) xxx

  38. Nice to read this tradition, happy holidays!

  39. Awesome traditions, I love learning about them from your post! <3

    New Blog Post: 5 Tips To Have Radiant Skin During The Winter

  40. Just finished reading "The Devil of Nanking" and the book spoke a lot about superstitions. Half the book took place during WWII and the main the husband would get frustrated with the wife b/c she was still so superstitious. Great book.

    Allie of

  41. This was so lovely to read! I love reading about other cultures and some of my friends celebrate this wonderful occasion and I'll wish the Gung Huy Fat Choy!

    I hope you have a fabulous time, full of success and happiness!

  42. Oh my gosh, I had no idea there were SO many traditions for the Chinese New Year! My boyfriend is Chinese and will be celebrating with his family on Thursday night. So interesting to read this! Thanks for sharing :)

    xo Megan, Lush to Blush

  43. post absolutely beautiful
    I posted a new article, I'd love to know your opinion
    would you like to pass from my blog?

  44. Happy to know these chinese tradition before New Year comes!
    Thanks a lot


  45. Very informative!! Thanks for posting this, we've learn so much. Thanks also for visiting my blog! Happy Chinese New Year!!

  46. What a great post to start off the New year! I'll definitely wear red this week!

    Chic 'n Cheap Living

  47. I love this post! Thanks for all the advice!

  48. I loved hearing about the Chinese New Year traditions!
    These pics are awesome, too! :) T.

  49. This is an awesome post! Great job Jo! CNY is big deal for my family so we observe alot of these traditions. Just wanted to add 2 more. While it's unlucky to cut your hair during the new year, alot of people including myself get their hair cut weeks before to shed bad energy. It's also lucky to wear new underwear on CNY especially red ones :)

    Rowena @ rolala loves

  50. Got to remember all of these. It is so nice to learn about these CNY traditions.

  51. I used to get a bonus Money when the Chinese's New Yew tradition very year when I worked with my favorite import export company. Thanks for sharing this, I almost forget about it:)..

  52. Can't wait for CNY :D


  53. What a fascinating post! I live in a city with a large Chinese population and there are huge celebrations for CNY every year, but after reading this I understand everything that happens much more - thanks for sharing, Jo and Kim :)

  54. Wow! This is a long list of superstitions. I would have to write down and keep with me at all times to get it right. :-) Great post!


  55. I love the idea of stocking up on candies and sweets!

    Thanks for sharing a little history on your culture and the holiday!

  56. i'm half chinese and did not know half of this stuff! pretty cool. thanks so much for all the info. even though i'm not superstitious, the chinese in me always makes me feel like i have to follow all these rules. haha.

  57. This post is so interesting and amazing.
    I love these tradiction, so cool
    Would you like to follow each other on BLOGLOVIN ? Baci The Indian Savage Diary

  58. I'm not very knowledgeable about Chinese superstitions so this is all so very interesting to me.. cool post!

  59. interesting!! i have definitely heard of some of these, while others were surprising. thanks for sharing!

  60. This post is great, I love discover different traditions,your culture is amazing!!

    Viky --- MySecretFashionPoison

  61. Oh my gosh this is awesome!!! I will definitely have to work on no debt for the new year!
    MY sister and I have a tradition that for new year's we wear an all new outfit!From head to toe, including underwear. We think it will bring us new experiences!
    Kat |

  62. Wowww, These are amazing, love learning these things!! You know I always fascinate about Chinese New Year, I knew amny new facts about it. very interesting to read, love this post Kim:)) Happy Tuesday honey <3

  63. What an informative post! I love to read about traditions in other cultures and this was absolutely fascinating. I knew about a couple of these already. The red envelopes were featured on a TV advert over here. Interesting to read about the background to the traditions too.

  64. I never realized there were so many traditions - thank you for sharing! Hope you have a happy and prosperous new year!
    Chic on the Cheap

  65. This was such an interesting read! Thanks for sharing it :)

  66. Jo really did an awesome CNY and Chinese superstition post! Was it her or you who put the pictures together? This post is definitely more well-put together than many other posts on Chinese superstition. It's in bite-sized nuggets of information and so easy to read. This post should get onto Google page 1 or something when people search for cny superstition.

  67. Oh i totally recall reading the post about pregnancy.
    This is really interesting, because one gets to know the reason behind the action or tradition.
    I always thought that wearing the yellow under wear came from the chinese traditions, i guess i am gonna have to keep looking.

  68. These are some lovely traditions! So generous and nice :)

  69. Thank you for posting this, it's so interesting to learn about other cultures and their traditions. :)

  70. Interesting, put into practice some of these tips!

  71. Hi Kim, I had so much fun writing up this post and your pictures matched it perfectly! Thanks for everything. Wishing you all the success you deserve!

    xo Jo

  72. i had no idea of all of these superstitions/traditions! i loved learning more.

  73. Great post! Very informative!

  74. hahah this is such a hilarious list that only my mother would remember and impose on us. love them asian supersititions.
    A Beautiful Zen

  75. Oops and oh no, I'm allergic to seafood :S. A very interesting informative post indeed though, never heard some of them! I should definitely definitely keep these in mind! :) Awesome post! --Thank you, to both of you!! :D


  76. It was a good read dear :)Some of them are similar to wat we folow here in India.

  77. Thk for ur article. I would to check with u the new long pant bought during this festival should be wore within the 15 day of this year festive or kept n wear it on the first day of 2015 Chinese new year. Thk!

  78. Thk for ur article. I would to check with u the new long pant bought during this festival should be wore within the 15 day of this year festive or kept n wear it on the first day of 2015 Chinese new year. Thk!

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