Gong Xi Fa Cai, everyone!
Chinese New Year is with us again. So for the next 15 days, we’ll see a lot of red packets, Chinese cookies, lion and dragon dances and other festive activities. But there is more to Chinese New Year than such going-ons.
Here are some other interesting facts that you may or may not have heard about.
Not always called Chinese New Year
In China, this festival is not called Chinese New year – this is the term used by people from other parts of the world. Instead, the people in China call it Lunar New Year, because the timing of when the festival occurs every year is based on the lunar calendar.
In China, calling the festival the Spring Festival is also common. This is because families travel long distances in China and brave large crowds to get to their hometown. This is termed as “Chunyun” or “spring migration” – hence, the name Spring Festival for the occasion.
Some actions bring bad luck
During the first day of Chinese New Year, there are activities that are traditionally believed to bring bad luck. Washing your hair, having a bath or even throwing out the family trash will get rid of your good fortunes, according to tradition. Moreover, greeting people in their bedrooms – and not the living room – is also seen as bringing bad luck. Using scissors and knives during Chinese New Year’s Day may also chop away good luck, according to beliefs.
Whether these superstitions are practical though, is another matter. In tropical Singapore, for example, going without bathing for the whole day – may instead chase away family and friends! And without using knives, there may be no cooking done.
For Chinese singles, Chinese New Year can be a really trying period, because your relatives will be asking you when you will settle down and get a partner. Then if you are attached, they will ask when you are getting married. And if you are married, they will then want to know when you will have a baby. The questions are never ending.
So nowadays, you can rent a fake boyfriend or girlfriend. Depending on the amount that you are willing to pay for a fake partner, you will get a range of endearments, such as holding hands, a kiss on the cheek and an embrace. Prices of these services range from SGD$82 to $1,321 per day – in China.
In Singapore, such services have recently become available too, at certain social escort agencies. So some will pay for a person to be their boyfriend or girlfriend for a day – during the Chinese New Year.
Staying clear of buying shoes
Refraining from buying new shoes for one whole month after Chinese New Year is common in some parts of China. This is because the Chinese term for shoes (haai) sounds like losing in Cantonese. So to avoid bad luck, the locals there will not buy shoes during the Chinese New Year period.
Firecrackers are used to frighten away monsters
For Chinese New Year, sometimes using firecrackers and fireworks are not to mark a celebration, but to scare away monsters. According to ancient Chinese legends, the half-dragon and half-monster, Nian, used to attack children during the festive period. As he was afraid of loud noises, people used firecrackers to chase him away. So nowadays, fireworks may not always be used to celebrate Chinese New Year – by some.
It is important to wear red undergarments
It is believed that wearing red undergarments during Chinese New Year will help you to fend off misfortunes in the year ahead. The Cantonese word for pants (fu) also sounds similar to wealth. So wearing red pants may bring you both luck and prosperity.
Related Blog Posts
- Eat Chinese Cookies Without Gaining Weight
- Traditional Versus Modern Chinese New Year Goodies
- Chinese New Year Cookies @ Donna Manis, Katong
- Best Egg Custard Tarts @ Tong Heng Confectionary
- Interesting Christmas Traditions Round the World