Chinese New Year Taboos and Rituals


How to bring in the Chinese New Year honouring traditions, taboos and etiquette

Chinese New Year Dates to Know:

January 28th - Februarry 4th is Little Year - Preparations for the new ear begin on the 28th and last until New Years Eve.

February 5th - 15th Spring Festival. Chinese new Year officially runs from February 5th - 15th.

February 16th - 19th Lantern Festival. Preparations for lantern festival begin on the 16th and the festival is held on the 19th


For a happy and prosperous year, avoid these New Year taboo

  1. Do not say negative words (death, empty, pain, cost, poor, kill, sick)

  2. Do not break ceramics or glass. If you do, wrap the item in red paper and say auspicious phrases, after the new year, throw the wrap dup shards into a lake or river 

  3. Do not clean or sweep. Before spring festival, there is a day of cleaning, but during the celebrations it becomes bad luck! Cleaning or throwing out garbage may sweep away good luck instead 

  4. Don’t shower on New Years day

  5. Do not use sharp objects. In China many hair studios close, as haircutting is taboo as it is seen to cut your stream of wealth and success 

  6. Do not visit the in-laws! Traditionally a bride and groom will move in with the grooms family once they are married, if a married woman returns to her family on New Years day is means there are marriage problems and may bring bad luck to the entire family. The couple should visit the wife’s family on the 2nd day of the new year. 

  7. Do not demand debt repayment until after the 5th day. Borrowing money is also taboo, it sets a precedent for the entire year

  8. Avoid fighting and crying. Resolve issues peacefully, and assist to resolve any neighbour or family disputes as a peacemaker.