SINGAPORE: An online user recently spotted a mismatch in Chinese New Year colours after seeing staff donning black uniforms while working around an all-red set-up shop. Though the post has since been taken down, it captured an important aspect of celebrating the lunar new year–colours.
In Chinese culture, colours are assigned their own good or bad fortunes. Red, for instance, the Chinese national colour, represents good fortune and happiness. Gold, on the other hand, represents wealth, long life, and power. This explains why the Chinese New Year theme revolves around such colours.
The belief that colours attract different fortunes drives the all-out observance of sticking to the right themes, whether for decorations or the clothes one decides to wear. In line with this, certain colours are associated with bad fortune.
In Chinese culture, black and white are associated with mourning, grief, and bad luck. Because of this, people who practise the culture believe in avoiding the colours during celebrations. It is their belief that doing so will ward off misfortune.
Colours are not the only thing Chinese culture associates with people’s fates. Even numbers are believed to carry different types of fortunes. For instance, a Chinese New Year superstition is that people should avoid odd numbers because they bring bad luck. This means that even when giving money as a gift, the amount should be an even number to bring good fortune.
Another Chinese New Year practice is avoiding anything that involves cleaning. This follows another Chinese superstition:
Cleaning your house on the first day of the lunar new year would also mean cleaning out good luck and wealth from your home.
Even washing is not allowed–from your clothes to your own hair. If you want to clean, then it’s recommended that you do so before the new year. Doing this is believed to bring good fortune to the home and the family.
Still, another Chinese New Year superstition is that eating sweet food will make the new year sweeter than the previous one.
From traditional Chinese New Year goodies like nian gao, fortune cookies, and glutinous rice balls to other sweet fruits, it is customary to welcome the Lunar New Year with a lot of sugar.
And last but not least, don’t sweep trash towards your neighbour’s house—it’s not a “sweet” thing to do, either.