Start Chinese New Year Right: What NOT to Do

Chinese New Year decorations, miniature dancing lion, and mandarin orange on red glitter background.

There are many traditions of things to do during Chinese New Year, but just as important are the things NOT to do. (Image: Szefei via Dreamstime)

For thousands of years, Chinese New Year has been celebrated, marking a fresh new start. There are many traditions followed throughout the year to ensure good luck, good health, prosperity, harmony, and balance in your life.

Things NOT to do to ensure a good year of the Tiger

Don’t start the Chinese New Year with debts

Man using calculator to count money savings and living costs.
Pay off all your debts before the New Year. If the debtor is not able to pay the money back, creditors should not ask them to do so during the first five days of the New Year. (Image: Tero Vesalainen via Dreamstime)

Day 1

Female in bare feet using a broom to sweep a dirty floor.
Don’t sweep the floor. Sweeping the floor means you’re sweeping your good luck away. (Image: Allyson Thomas via Dreamstime)
Cough syrup being poured into a spoon.
Don’t take medicine, you’ll avoid sickness for the whole year (consult your doctor first). (Image: Tibor Ďuriš via Dreamstime)

Don’t take out the trash

Garbage should not be taken out during the first four days of Chinese New Year, as it symbolizes cleaning out all of the good luck for the coming year.

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Don’t break anything

Breaking something brings bad luck. If you accidentally break something on days 1-4, say 歲歲平安 (suì suì píng ān), which means: “May everyone be blessed all year round.” The pronunciation of 歲 (suì) is the same for both “break” and “year,” and 平安 (píng ān) means “peaceful” or “blessed.” So you turn bad luck into good luck.

Don’t bring an odd number of presents

Asian woman holding a wrapped present.
When married daughters visit their parents on Day 2, they should bring an even number of presents. An odd number is considered bad luck. (Image: Tom Wang via Dreamstime)

Day 2: Don’t cry on New Year

If you cry on Chinese New Year’s day, you could bring yourself misfortune in the coming days.

Day 4: Stay home

The Kitchen God is coming back to Earth today and will do a roll call, so make sure you are at home.

Don’t borrow or lend money during Chinese New Year, as it means you will suffer financial loss.

Day 9: Don’t hang out the laundry

Laundry hanging on a line outside a home in Venice, Italy.
Today is the birthday of the Jade Emperor. In order to show respect for him, hanging out the laundry is not allowed. (Image: Jeff Schultes via Dreamstime)

Don’t cut your hair

It’s considered a bad omen to have a haircut during the Chinese New Year period. Also, wearing all black or white should be avoided since they are colors used at a funeral, and they symbolize bad luck.

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