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Chinese New Year Superstitions I Never Understood.

Chinese New Year Superstitions I Never Understood.

chinese new year superstitions

Chinese New Year Superstitions

As a Chinese man, I grew up having to follow loads of superstitions in my household. Rolling pineapples into my new house. Staying up all night so that my parents will live longer. Not being allowed to cut my nails after sunset. You get the idea. It gets worse around Chinese New Year; suddenly, the list of taboos will expand exponentially. Ironically, these beliefs pushed me even further away from religion. Till today, I don’t understand these Chinese New Year superstitions.

No Hair Washing

chinese new year superstition wash hair

I wasn’t allowed to wash my hair on the first day of Chinese New Year because “it washes away good luck”. One year, I completely forgot about this and got an earful from my mum. Apparently, it was my fault she didn’t win her last two weeks of the lottery.

How does one even store luck in hair? And why hair? Why not some other body part that won’t get smelly after CNY hotpot dinners.

Till today, I still refrain from washing my hair on the first day as my mum will never fail to bring up the lottery story whenever she loses money.

No Sweeping

chinese new year superstition no sweeping

I can’t be the only one whose hair constantly drops in his sleep. Despite shedding enough hair to weave a full shirt, I’m not allowed to sweep during the festive period. All because it “sweeps away wealth”.

And guess what? Being the forgetful person I am, I once swept my room during the festive period and was scolded like mad. And once again, my mum lost money while playing the lottery.

These two superstitions started to make me question if being clean was just unlucky in general. Or if my mum was just a terrible gambler.

No Wearing Black

chinese new year superstition wear black
Credit: PAUSE

Black is commonly associated with evil, death, and mourning in Chinese culture. However, as someone who has a fully black wardrobe, this is a nightmare for me. Every year, I’m forced to purchase a few bright shirts just for Chinese New Year just so that I do not bring “bad luck” to the family. I’ve never felt more naked than wearing a bright red shirt. It’s just a colour.

It’s not the end of the world if I wore a black shirt.

I forgot to buy a bright shirt one year and wore black. The moment I stepped out of my room, of course, I got an earful once again. I should’ve just taken the chance and washed my hair at the same time. Now I got a scolding, smelly hair, a room filled with hair, and “bad luck” —the unholy trifecta of Chinese New Year.

Dealing with Chinese New Year Superstitions

If you’re stuck living with your parents and have to follow their every superstition, I completely understand. Just like you, I wish they’d understand reality more. If you’re out visiting and are forced to follow these superstitions, I hope your hair doesn’t stink.

I don’t understand Chinese New Year Superstitions and this is my story. Now, tell me yours!

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