Truth Or Dare: CNY Edition
By Tim Wee
January 15, 2014
We, Asians are a superstitious bunch. Coming from a long extensive cultural heritage, we have a wealth of beliefs and folklores which have come to shape our world. From an early age, our elders have drilled into us a complex set of practices that is said to determine our well-being. Even as a young impressionable child, who can forget our kiasu Chinese parents warning us never to point to the moon in the fear of getting our ears cut!
Superstitions are a part of the Asian cultural heritage!
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With superstitions playing such an important role, it should come as no surprise that they cover every aspect of our lives. Whether it be key life events (marriage, childbirth and etc) or festive occasions, there is bound to be a thick dome of dos and don’ts which is stringently enforced by our watchful relatives. This is to ensure that we do not offend the wrong spiritual ‘forces’ so as to gain a favourable disposition for our future.
Superstitions are everywhere!
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So with the all-important Chinese New Year (CNY) festival coming up, we are bracing ourselves for the endless CNY reminders! But, what is the rationale behind them? With curiosity getting the better of us, we decided to get off our butts and examine some popular CNY superstitions!
New year; old superstitions
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1. Cleaning the slate; out with the old, in with the new.
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Nobody likes to be told to clean up after themselves, but this is an unavoidable part of the CNY preparations. Every Chinese household will be in an uproar with every able family member helping out with the various chores. By doing so, it is believed that the family is sweeping, dusting and mopping away all the bad luck accumulated during the year.
However, there is some cleaning reprieve during CNY. In order not to lose any of the incoming good luck and fortune, there should be absolutely NO cleaning of any kind for the first five days! In fact, all cleaning equipment like brooms, mops and dusters should have been kept on New Year’s Eve. Some families go to such an extent that they don’t even wash their hair in fear of losing the impending good luck!
2. No foul language, young man!
The unspoken rules of CNY!
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A new year means a clean slate and that extent to your words as well. While you will be spared the ‘washing out your mouth with soap’ reprimand (the ‘no cleaning’ rule still applies), foul language is a big no-no during the festive period. Considered inauspicious, it can bring bad luck to the household.
Also, included on the taboo list are negative words like four (which sounds like death), anything related to death or dying and ghost stories! On the plus side, scolding is also prohibited. This means that you do get a free pass during CNY!
3. Confucius says, a Chinese always pays his debts before CNY...
Money ain’t a drag when you are debt-free!
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Going by the phrase, you reap what you sow, it is custom to settle all outstanding bills before the first day of CNY. As the Chinese believe that you will end the year the way you started it, people have a tendency to want to start their new year debt-free and financially in the black!
4. In the RED of health...
The ancient monster Nian was left all red-faced!
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If you haven’t noticed, Chinese love the colour red! Symbolising abundant good luck, everything is washed in red during the CNY. From clothes to ang bos, the vibrant colour is an everlasting CNY presence. Chinese households even hang a red banner above their main door to usher in the New Year! This fascination with red came about due to the folklore in which the ancient monster Nian, was defeated using the fabled colour!
Black, on the other hand, is on the other end of the spectrum. Regarded as an unlucky colour, black is commonly associated with death. Thus, it is strictly prohibited during the CNY period. As such, you can forget about wearing your favourite black band t-shirt during your CNY visitations!
5. Longevity begins with a late night...
Staying up late with a banger!
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Probably the only night when kids are allowed to stay up late, it is believed that children are required to ‘guard’ their parents on New Year Eve night. By staying up late, kids will ensure that their parents will enjoy a long blessed life. If you need help staying awake, don’t forget to check out our tips for staying awake!
Want to know your future?
Sign up for our Fengshui 2014 Predictions event and gain insights from renowned geomancer Master Chew!
Also, don’t forget to visit the SAFRA Chinese New Year Fairs to enjoy discounted CNY goodies!