Things You Should Not Do During Chinese New Year

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The red packets, firecrackers and the lion dances are back! As we prepare to usher in the New Year of the Rat, we just want to share a list of superstitions and taboos that you need to avoid during Chinese New Year (CNY)! Putting aside the million Ringgit questions that all relatives will ask such as “When are you gonna marry?” and “When are you going to have kids?”. According to the Chinese culture, breaking any of these superstitions and taboos will lead to bad fortune for the entire coming year. 

You will have bad luck if you break any of superstitions and taboos during CNY. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

This also means you could be spoiling someone else’s holiday and potentially triggering some elders (especially your grandparents), and disrupting the festive mood this holiday! Let’s see what they are:


1. Do not wash your hair on the first day of the New Year

During the first two days of the lunar year, you should not wash your hair as it washes away your prosperity and wealth. In Chinese Mandarin language, hair (fa 发) has the same pronunciation as wealth (fa cai 发财). Thus, your hair is a symbol of wealth and opulence.

2. Do not cut your hair on New Year’s Day too

We understand that you need a brand-spanking new hair cut to look your best on New Year’s day. Similar to the taboo of washing your hair, getting a hair cut on the day is in fact, considered a worse action! It is said that this is similar to cutting your life short! So, it’s better to schedule your hair cut appointment a few days before! Let’s not take any risks.

3. Avoid using sharp objects

Sharp objects such as scissors and knives are considered inauspicious as these will cut good luck out of your life. Also, scissors symbolise fighting with others or an omen of personal conflict. So, it’s better to use these sharp objects for cooking or decoration before the festival season and avoid them during!

3A. 4 is an unlucky number

Why they use “3A” instead of the number “4”? According to Chinese culture, “4” is believed to be inauspicious as the word “four” which is “Si” in Chinese Mandarin, also means death

5. Don’t sweep the floor or take out the garbage

It is said to be unlucky to sweep or throw away garbage on New Year’s Day as good luck and fortune could accidentally be swept and dumped out.

6. No porridge for breakfast

Porridge or congee is known as a form of comfort food. However, the Chinese believed that porridge is the sign of poverty. So, it’s best to opt for KFC or any comfort food aside from porridge during CNY!

7. Black and white clothes are a big no-no

These two monochrome colours are traditionally associated with mourning. It is best to wear “lucky colours”, especially red to bring positive energy and invite wealth and prosperity during CNY. So to those who are planning to visit your Chinese friends during the holidays, do take note and respect the culture and expectations!

8. Settle your debts

To those who have unsettled debts, or if you owe some money to your acquaintances, be sure to pay them off before New Year’s eve. It is said that if you only pay them off on CNY, you will continue to be in debt and it would be hard to accumulate wealth throughout the coming year

9. No crying babies allowed

Yes, it’s not a joke. Chinese believed that crying babies will bring misfortune to the family so parents do their best to keep their children happy. Also, parents are not allowed to punish them when their children are behaving naughty. (We are pretty sure that the kids are happy to know this!)

10. Forget of buying a new pair of shoes on CNY

The reason why we say this is the Cantonese word of “hai” has the same pronunciation as the word rough. Thus, shoes are the symbol of roughness. Don’t blame us when bad luck hits you hard!


Any Chinese New Year superstitions and taboos that we didn’t mention? Share your opinions on the comment section below! Don’t forget to head over to and unveil your next job opportunity!

Sarah Sahadin or known as Sarah S., is a Digital Marketer-cum-Junior Graphic Designer and Malay-language content writer who writes career, lifestyle and current trending contents to engage Malay readers, informing about the latest trends happening around. Sarah also has a passion for motorsport (can be spotted at Sepang Circuit on some certain weekends) and enjoys manga illustration during her free time.

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