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Top 10 Chinese New Year Do's and Don'ts

Chinese New Year (CNY) is a wonderful occasion to celebrate a new start and the beginning of a new journey. Unlike the previous CNYs, the celebration this year might be a little different due to the current pandemic situation because we may not be able to celebrate the usual way. Nevertheless, we should continue to embrace our traditions at home especially those that can help with our luck and prosperity. Here are some Do’s and Don’ts that could help you prepare for a prosperous year ahead.


1. Wear black

Boy laughing wearing glasses

According to Chinese beliefs, black is not favoured because it symbolises mourning. And the elderly usually prefer red because red represents prosperity and good fortune. But don’t worry, there are plenty of colours for you to choose from and each colour carries auspicious meanings too. For examples, green represents good health, yellow means good luck and white connotes purity and fulfilment.

 2. Eat Porridge

Cutlery next to a bowl of porridge

It is believed that eating porridge on the first day of CNY could bring poverty to the rest of the year. Luckily for me, I don’t like eating them either. Instead, start your year with yee sang which could bring you more fortune and abundance!

3. Wash Hair

Woman washing hair in the shower with shampoo

People typically don’t wash their hair on the first day of CNY because hair (fa) shares the same word as wealth (fa cai). So you’re literally washing your wealth away! Despite the odd custom, do practise good personal hygiene habits, such as washing and sanitising your hands to keep yourselves healthy through CNY.

4. Carry-over Debt

Man in a suit sitting down counting cash

Debts should be paid off before CNY because it is commonly believed that you will suffer from continuous debts for the rest of your life. It's also unlucky to collect money from your debtors during CNY. So if you owe anyone money, be sure to return them before CNY as fast as you can!

5. Sweep the floor

Cartoon maid sweeping the floor Chinese new year

“Please don’t sweep the floor, dear!” Does this sound familiar to you? I have been warned by my parents before too. They wouldn’t allow me and my siblings to sweep the floor, especially on the first day of CNY because when you sweep the floor, you could be sweeping the wealth away!


1. Have Reunion Dinner

Cartoon reunion at dinner for Chinese new year

Reunion dinner symbolises togetherness and a great start to the new year with the family. This is also the time where every family member gathers together and celebrate the joyous occasion. However, we may not be able to gather in person this year if MCO is still in place but at least with technology nowadays, you can still have your reunion dinner online. So grab your smartphones or laptop and wish your beloved relatives ‘Gong Xi Fa Cai’!

2. Eat Food That Bring Good Luck

Chinese new year good luck sea food

Did you know the hidden auspicious meaning behind these dishes? Fish is one of the must-have dishes on the table because it sounds the same as 'surplus' in Mandarin. Whereas prawn sounds similar to laughter in Cantonese, which could mean a joyous year ahead. And as always, eat in moderation especially for those weight watchers ;)

 3. Staying Up Late On The Eve of CNY/ Shou Sui (守岁)

staying up late on the eve of Chinese new year

Shou sui is a CNY tradition where younger members of the family will stay awake throughout the night after reunion dinner as a blessing of longevity for the elderly.

In return, the elderly will give children ya sui qian (压岁钱) in the form of angpow. Ya sui qian is also known as lucky money, which literally means “suppressing age money.” It is merely a goodwill wish from the elderly to stop their children from getting older in age.

4. Have A Tray Of Togetherness

Togetherness food Chinese new year

The tray of togetherness is something that your family will serve to visiting relatives to snack on or as sweet gifts during CNY. This tray contains eight compartments, an auspicious number. Every ingredient carries different meanings as well. For example, candied melon for good health, kumquat for prosperity, lychee nuts for strong family ties and peanuts for longevity. We may not have any visitors this CNY but hey, you can still have all these sweet snacks all to yourself

5. Spring Clean

Cleaning with yellow glove cloth on blue surface

According to Chinese customs, spring cleaning can wash away bad luck and a clean house is ready to receive good fortune for the year ahead.

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