Chinese Taboos & Superstitions

Taboos and Superstition

(things to try at home)

Its important to have a clean and tidy house for New Year – make the days leading up to it, a time for spring cleaning rooms, throwing out old toys. (Particularly good for those who are interested in Montessori Practical Life activities!) Maybe you could do a car boot sale of the things you don’t need and tie it in with discussions of wealth?

Fireworks (firecrackers) are vital on New Years Eve as a celebration and on the stroke of midnight all the doors and windows of the house are supposed to be open – a little chilly in the UK perhaps but it does tie in nicely with a UK New Year superstition popular in Victorian Times (find link) which could make for interesting discussion.

All debts must be paid (if only!) and nothing must be lent on New Years Day. How hard is it to only use whats really yours for a day? Where are the boundaries? What belongs to all of you or none of you? Bet its harder than you think!

Avoid references to the past – again – a tough one! Bad language and talk of death are severely frowned upon. Why would this be?

Wear red – a bright, happy colour to bring happiness for the year (yellow belongs to the emperor and is forbidden)

Lai See, red envelopes with money in them are given to children and unmarried friends/relatives on New Years Day.

Don’t use knives or scissors in case you cut off good luck – again – a tough one!

If something, eg a plate, is broken, it is vital to say sui sui ping an, which means “peace throughout the year,” immediately.

Joss sticks and altar candles must be kept burning day and night to encourage longevity. An opportunity to discuss safety.