Do's and Don'ts for Chinese New Year

Do's and Don'ts for Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is coming right around the corner, welcoming the new year for the Chinese with lots of cheers, family reunions and the bang of firecrackers!

In Singapore and Malaysia, which are countries with diverse cultures comprising three major ethnics; Malay, Chinese and Indian, Chinese New Year is a major event celebrated together. Here are some DO's and DON'Ts during Chinese New Year (CNY) and a little about the Chinese Culture during their New Year to impress your Chinese friends over the "Gong Xi Fa Cai's"!

Days Before the Chinese New Year

Spring cleaning of the entire home before CNY

Normally most Chinese households will plan for a spring cleaning of their entire home before the Chinese New Year. Spring cleaning means to "sweep away the bad luck" for the house and family members. 

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A Fresh Image and hair style before CNY

Most Chinese believe that it is good to have a new hair style to look fresh during Chinese New Year when visiting family members and relatives. They also believe that it helps them to wash and cut away the bad luck from the previous year.

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On the eve of the Chinese New Year 

Reunion Dinner

Chinese families always gather together before the new year eve for a Reunion Dinner. During Chinese New Year (CNY), Most Chinese will serve dishes that have lucky meanings or sounds. For example, fish is a popular dish as the word "Fish" in Chinese is pronouns as “YU”, which is similar to “extra” coming from the previous year. Some of the Chinese will have “Lou Sang” to bring prosperity and good luck to them, as the word (Lou) means “collect” and (Sang) means “Prosperity”. 

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On the Chinese New Year (about 2 weeks)

Wearing Red Clothes during CNY

Always remember to wear red clothing because red symbolizes luck for the Chinese. Always wear red on the First day of New Year to bring you more wealth. 

Pray for Good Fortune 

On the first day of the Chinese New Year, a lot of Chinese will visit temples to pray for good fortune for the New Year. Some of the Chinese also burn large amounts of incense on the first day to pray for good fortune for the whole year. 

Married people will give out red packets

The Chinese believe that the Red Packet (Ang Pow), usually given by married couples to their relatives or family members, brings good blessings and luck for the New Year. This is a highlight for unmarried people and little children, as its extra money to spend for the new year! So when you see a married couple, all you need to say is “Hi, Gong Xi Fa Cai”, and you will be given with “Ang Pow”, “Gong Xi Fa Cai” in chinese means “Wish you Earn Big Money”. Get added bonuses if you add on fun creative Chinese greetings like "Hou nian ji xiang" which means "Good luck for this monkey year" or "Hou nian da ji" which means "Lots of luck for this monkey year".

On the last day of the Chinese New Year celebrations (the 15th day)

The Chinese will celebrate Chinese Valentines day called Chap Goh Meh which is the last day of the Chinese New Year. Every single lady will throw mandarin oranges in to the sea or river with the wish of finding a good husband or boyfriend as their wish will follow the river, similar to the western culture of throwing a bottle in to the sea with the hope for someone to pick it up. For a single man, you can scoop up the orange as there may be a phone number of the pretty lady waiting for you somewhere out there. 


Don’t lend & borrow money

The Chinese believe that they should not lend money to other people on the first day of the New Year, as it will mean that their money will flow out for the whole year. Besides that, Chinese also believe that they should return money back to their lender before the start of new year for better luck and karma.

Don’t use unlucky words

The Chinese believe that they should not use unlucky words such as “Sei” or “Shi” or Four (4) which means “Dead” in Chinese. Saying these words might bring them bad luck for the new year. 

Don't wear white or black clothing; or even old clothing

When you are visiting your Chinese friend during CNY, please do not wear white or black clothing as Chinese believe that both white and black are colours of mourning in Chinese. These are the colors that they will only wear during a funeral. 

Don't swear and argue

The Chinese believe the god of fortune will leave you if you quarrel with people. This signifies that you are not peaceful and it will scare away the god of fortune, so please try not to argue with anyone during Chinese new year.

Don't buy shoes during the first month of Chinese New Year

Since the shoes in Chinese is called “Hai” which sound of sighing in Chinese. Chinese believes “Hai” is not a good way to start the year, as a result, don’t go shopping for shoes or buy any Chinese friend a shoes during the Chinese new year

Don’t cut your hair during the first three days of the New Year

The word "Hair" in Chinese is called “Fa” meaning wealth. Thus, they believe that if you cut your hair it simply means that you will cut away your luck.

Don’t sweep the floors or throw out garbage during the first day of New Year

The Chinese are fearful of casting riches out especially during the first day of New Year, hence they will never sweep floors during the first day of the Chinese New Year.

Don’t visit those who are still sleeping

The Chinese believe that this will make them fall sick and sleep on the bed during the whole year. To avoid this form happening, you should inform the person first before you visit with a call before you go.

Don't break any dishes during New Year

If this happens, you must quickly say “Peace for all the time” so that the bad luck will go away. 

Don’t present an odd numbered gift as a return because it is unlucky

Don't drop your chopsticks during New Year. 

Don't visit people who are in mourning. 


The Chinese have a tradition of wishing relatives and friends “Gong Xi Fa Cai” which means to have a happy and prosperous year. So do be generous with those "Gong Xi Fa Cai's!" RAPIDFY wishes everyone "Gong Xi Fa Cai!", a Happy Holiday and a Long weekend, and do pay a visit to your Chinese friends and neighbors, they will always welcome you.

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