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Chinese New Year Taboos and Customs

Custom can be regarded as a cluster of practices common to a country of people. Taboo, on the other hand, is outright prohibition of social act or behavior, Customs and taboos are continually evolving and thus keep changing and also vary from one society or country to another. The Chinese, as a nation value customs and taboos and these are particularly practiced during New Year celebrations. Many foreigners may think that Chinese New Year is just about visiting relatives, collecting Hongbao and eating a lot, but it is also a time for foreboding as the festival is riddled with superstitions. The Chinese place much stock in the rites and rituals in Chinese New Year superstitions. The following are some top Chinese New Year superstition, you can have a look to make sure the year of the rat doesn't land you in the sewer.

1. The house should be cleaned before New Year's Day. On New Year's Eve, all brooms, brushes, dusters, dust pans and other cleaning equipment are put away. Sweeping or dusting should not be done on New Year's Day for fear that good fortune will be swept away. After New Year's Day, the floors may be swept. Beginning at the door, the dust and rubbish are swept to the middle of the parlor, then placed in the corners and not taken or thrown out until the fifth day.

2. Washing or cutting of hair on this day is prohibited, doing so means washing away all good luck for the coming year. On the other hand the use of knives and scissors may lead to cut of fortune. Chinese people should not wash clothes on the New Year day since it is the birthday of the god of water. 

3. On New Year's Day, we are not suppose to wash our hair because it would mean we would have washed away good luck for the New Year. Red clothing is preferred during this festive occasion. Red is considered a bright, happy color, sure to bring the wearer a sunny and bright future.

4. During the Chinese New Year, people are expected to refrain from saying anything bad, since bad word one may use is believe bring effect on him or her for the rest of the year. Word like “Si” “Four” in Chinese means “to die” so one must refrain from using the number four. Before the New Year, children would be warned not to quarrel, fight or speak rudely. Some Chinese believe that if children are beaten by their elders for bad behavior during the celebrations, then they would be inclined to be boisterous and rebellious throughout the year.

5. The first meal on Chinese New Year for most traditional Chinese families is vegetarian food. Consuming meat and slaughtering animals on this day is considered bad. Often, the food to be served on New Year's Day is prepared in abundance the day before. Since the food is cooked on the eve of New Year, thus prepared in the previous year, taking the surplus amount in the following days symbolizes material wealth being brought over from the previous year. Also do not take meat in the morning because it said that the gods who arrives in the morning of the New Year festival, many of them are vegetarians.

While many Chinese people today may not believe in these do's and don'ts, these traditions and customs are still practiced. These traditions and customs are kept because most families realize that it is these very traditions, whether believed or not, that provide continuity with the past and provide the family with an identity.