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Dos & don'ts during Chinese New Year

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  • SJS6638's Avatar
    5,614 posts since Nov '11
    • A host of helpful dos & don'ts to get through the holidays faux pas free

      Asia News NetworkBy News Desk in Taipei/The China Post | Asia News Network – Sat, Feb 9, 2013

      Taipei (The China Post/ANN) - Avoiding cultural minefields on Chinese New Year can be tricky, but follow these dos and don'ts and you should be just fine.

      Don't Curse

      According to Taoist tradition, what you do over the holidays sets the tone for the rest of the year. So take care to avoid the use of curses and epithets, as well as the less obvious use of negative words. For example, consider retiring the word "meal", which is homophonous with "guilty". Substitute with "rice".

      Do Brush Up on Snake Sayings

      Chinese New Year is a time for smiling at strangers and wishing them well. This year, try on these snake-themed blessings for size: "Prosper in the Year of the Snake", "Shake Down Like a Golden Snake", "May Your Charm Be Like A Snake" and "May Your Brush Flow Like a Dragon and Snake".

      Don't Toss Trash until Day 6

      Even if your house isn't gleaming on Day One, don't clean. Don't pick up a broom and don't toss your trash, so that you can't inadvertently throw out the God of Wealth. Instead, wait until after Day Five - the God of Wealth's birthday.

      If you break a dish, say "Rest in Pieces" to defuse bad luck. Wrap the fragments in a red envelope and then discard after Day Five.

      Do Gift

      If you have relatives a generation or more below you, start wrapping red envelopes. Give an amount that ends with an even digit. Avoid ending with a 4, which is homophonous with "death," or an odd digit, which is associated with funerals.

      The spirit of giving also extends beyond the family. During the holidays, many Taiwanese will pass out red envelopes to their security guards, waiters, maids or others in their employ.

      Other Don'ts

      There are a variety of other practices frowned upon, according to the Taiwan Taoist Association. Don't borrow money, collect debts, discipline your children, nag your spouse, pay your respects to elders on a sickbed, complain, nap on Day One, pour water out the door, eat porridge or sweet potatoes, use scissors or needles, sew, lift nets or call out to chickens.

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