Top 10 Chinese New Year Superstitions

Chinese New Year may be a time for friends, family, and fun, but is also a time for foreboding as the festival is riddled with superstitions. The Chinese place much stock in the rites and rituals of Chinese New Year superstitions and the origins of Chinese New Year are old and complicated. Check out our top Chinese New Year superstition tips below to make sure you're wearing the right color underwear and know which objects and words to avoid. 

  • 01 of 10

    Dirty Doings

    chinese new year
    Sunphol Sorakul / Getty Images

    Put your feet up and relax. Certainly, the most enjoyable  Chinese New Year superstition is that sweeping and cleaning are strictly forbidden. Why? Why ask, but if you must know it's because the Chinese believe that you'll sweep all of your good luck out if the front door.

  • 02 of 10

    Time to Come Clean


    Peter Dazeley 

    Well, you had the good news so here is the bad news. Before you put your feet up and studiously avoid sweeping, you need to give the house a bit of spring clean and then make sure that all cleaning tools are tightly packed away in the cupboard. 

  • 03 of 10

    Read Between the Lines

    Low angle view of a signboard on a wall, Pingyao, China
    Glowimages / Getty Images

    Be sure to stock up on reading materials before Chinese New Year as Hong Kong's bookshops will be padlocked tight. In Cantonese, book is a homonym for 'lose' so reading is forbidden, or at least frowned upon...sort of. 

  • 04 of 10

    An Old Shoe


    Roman Kraft / EyeEm 

    It doesn't stop with books, the Cantonese are obsessed with homonyms and avoiding words that might sound like something bad. And that's why you'll need to stay out of the shoe shop over the holiday period; shoes are a homonym for 'rough', which can suggest a rough year ahead. 

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Balance the Books


    Peter Dazeley 

    If you're in debt, it's time to dip into your pockets and pay up. Many of the superstitions around Chinese New Year are aimed at ensuring prosperity for the twelve months ahead and the Chinese believe that if you start the new year in the red you'll finish it the same way.

  • 06 of 10

    Ghostly Conversations


    Caught round a campfire over the holiday period? No ghost stories. Tales of death, dying and ghosts are considered supremely inauspicious, especially during Chinese New Year. Similarly, it's not the time to show friends your favourite horror movie. 

  • 07 of 10

    Lady in Red

    Mom & toddler preparing Chinese New Year joyfully
    images by Tang Ming Tung / Getty Images

    Chinese New Year is packed with colors and while any bright color is said to bring luck it is red that really sets hearts racing. You'll find everything from belts and wallets to shoes and hair colored throughout Chinese New Year. Don't be surprised if your friends have their favorite lucky red underwear on. 

  • 08 of 10

    Sweet Year

    Six traditional egg tarts in carton, Macau
    Cultura Exclusive/Philippe Roy/Getty Images

    Hong Kongers have a sweet tooth at the best of time, but Chinese New Year offers the perfect chance to raid the sweet shop. Digging into a mars bar or three or your favorite egg tart is said to bring a sweeter year ahead. 



    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Feel the Breeze

    Zhang Zhang / EyeEm 

    Out with the old and in with the new is a common refrain at new years around the world and in China it's no different. Opening your windows to welcome in a blast of fresh air is said to let in good luck for the year ​ahead.

  • 10 of 10

    Get to the Point

    Andrea Donetti / EyeEm 

    Sharp objects are said to be harbingers of bad luck, as their sharp points cut out your good luck, pack them away.You should also avoid the hairdressers or you'll have your good luck chopped off.