As the Chinese get set to welcome in the New Year today they will be bearing in mind a whole host of superstitions and myths about their most magical time of the year.
China has a completely different calendar to the rest of the world. Working on the lunisolar Chinese calendar, New Year falls somewhere between January 21 and February 20 each year.
Each year in the Chinese Zodiac – a 12 year cycle - also represents an animal. Last year was the year of the snake, but it’s the turn of the horse for 2014.
Here are the top 10 Chinese superstitions:
1. A clean home to start the New Year - one of the main superstitions the Chinese follow is to completely clean their home in time for the New Year. In particular, they focus upon sweeping the floors as it’s said that this eliminates the ‘bad energy’ from the home. It’s basically a metaphor for eliminating the old and welcoming in the new.
2. Absolutely no unpleasantries - it’s said that whatever happens on the first day of the New Year will determine how the rest of the year pans out. So, things like foul language and putting people down are frowned upon.
3. No ghost stories - on a similar note to the point above, children and adults are not allowed to tell ghost stories on Chinese New Year. This is because they relate to death and negative energy.
4. Don’t wash your hair - a rather odd superstition the Chinese follow on New Year’s Day is the fact they don’t wash their hair. It is said that by washing the hair on this particular day, it eliminates good luck from the body.
5. Black clothing should be avoided - black clothing is something else that relates to death, so its best avoided on New Year.
6. Be careful with crockery - broken crockery is considered to be a sign of extreme bad luck on New Year’s Day.
7. Don’t cry - as the point was made earlier, the Chinese believe that anything which happens on New Year’s Day will happen for the rest of the year. Therefore if you cry, you will end up crying for the rest of the year.
8. Wear red - red is considered to be a very lucky colour at this time of year. Parents even reward their children with cash given in red envelopes. You’ll also often see families enhancing the home with red decorations.
9. Don’t cut anything - cutting things is said to have a negative impact on your fortune and your life.
10. Using fireworks - there’s actually a myth surrounding this superstition in the form of a creature. It’s said that a half lion and half dragon monster used to come down from the mountains to scare the humans. Firecrackers are used to frighten this mythical beast and show that the people are no longer scared.
'Pinch punch, first of the month', saying 'bless you' when someone sneezes and fearing Friday 13th are to name a few, what are your superstitions and why? Email them in to: firstname.lastname@example.org