Lunar New Year Superstitions

Credit:akbarudi akbarudi via Unsplash

Photo Courtesy of Getty Images/iStockphoto

Credit:akbarudi akbarudi via Unsplash

By Kristen Tomazic, Staff Writer

The Lunar New Year is a common holiday celebrated among Asian countries and within Asian communities outside of Asia. Sometimes, it is referred to as the Spring Festival. 2022 is the year of the Tiger. For those born in 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, and every 12 years consecutively, it is considered very lucky for you all as it is your time to shine! 

Many families, specifically of Chinese descent, light fireworks and wear bright colors to scare away the evil monster Nian(year) throughout their festivities. Common festivities could include eating various dishes, (especially long noodles for a long and healthy life), lighting fireworks, getting together with family, and gifting of red envelopes filled with money. Some common phrases around this time would be 新年快樂 (Xīnnián kuàilè) meaning “Happy New Year” and 恭喜发财 (Gōngxǐ fācái) which loosely translates to “Wishing you great prosperity and fortune.” 

In each culture, there are various superstitions surrounding the Lunar New Year. This year, I am carefully observing these superstitions as I further connected with my culture over quarantine. Some of these superstitions can include:

  • Not washing or cutting your hair on the Lunar New Year: By doing this action, it is “washing away the good luck” placed upon you.
  • Don’t use scissors or knives: Similar to not cutting or washing your hair, by cutting anything you are cutting away at any good luck you may get from the new year.
  • Not saying the number 4: Four in Chinese is Sì with the fourth tone. In the word death, it has Sǐ which is the third tone. With the both of them being so close in pronunciation, it is avoided at all costs and is said to bring bad luck of death. Although this doesn’t seem to be a huge deal with English speakers, the change in pronunciation in Chinese could mean the difference between saying mom or horse.
  • Wearing bright colors: bright colors have often been said to scare away Nian and therefore keeps the bad monster and energies away from people.
  • Don’t swear or quarrel: The New Year is about revitalizing your health, physical and mental. By swearing or quarreling with others, it is very unlucky and is highly discouraged outside of the New Year celebrations.
  • Don’t drop your chopsticks