2017 Chinese New Year: Things to avoid gifting

By @garima_satija on
Painted glass Christmas and New Year decorations depicting a rooster which is related to the 2017 Chinese Lunar New Year, are pictured at the "Yolochka" (Christmas tree) factory, which has been producing glass decorations and toys for the festive season since 1848, in the town of Klin outside Moscow, Russia, November 24, 2016. Reuters/Maxim Zmeyev

Chinese New Year falls on Jan. 28 this year, which is the Year of the Rooster. It involves 15-day celebrations and is also called the Spring Festival. While a lot of festivities are involved in celebrations, exchange of gifts is also a prominent tradition. Gifts can always be personalised and chosen based on the likes of the receiver, but there are certain items which shall not be gifted as they are considered to be bringing bad luck according to Chinese custom. Here is a list of things that shall be avoided while gifting on this New Year.

  • Red rose

While gifting roses is quite popular in Western culture, it isn’t considered a good omen according to Chinese culture. This is because of the thorns that the rose stems have. The thorns are believed to be a symbol of back luck, especially when it comes to relationships.

  • Watch/timepiece

Watch is believed to be a symbol of running out of time and hence it must be avoided as a gift on Chinese New Year. Furthermore, the Chinese word for "giving clock" sounds similar to the word for "attending funeral" in Chinese, and hence, watches and clocks symbolise bad luck.

  • Shoes

Shoes are also considered to bring bad luck as the Chinese word for shoes sounds similar to evil. Furthermore, it is believed that since people step on shoes, they shall be avoided as gifts.

  • Anything in fours

According to Chinese culture, number four is unlucky because the Chinese word for the number sounds similar to death. Hence, avoid giving anything with number four or in the multiple of four.

  • White and black coloured gifts

Black as well as white colours symbolise bad luck, according to Chinese superstition. They are associated with funerals, and hence, they must be avoided as gifts. Red, on the other hand, is considered a happy colour, and hence, it is widely used for costumes, decorations as well as gifts.

  • Mirrors

Mirrors are believed to be attracting evil spirits. Furthermore, they are prone to break easily. Breaking of things is said to bring bad luck. Hence, you shall cross mirrors off the list.

  • Green Hat

Green hats symbolise unfaithfulness in a relationship. Wearing a greet hat means that the respective partner is unfaithful. Hence, it isn’t a good idea to gift someone a green hat because that may lead to a broken relationship, especially during the Chinese New Year.

  • Knives, scissors or sharp objects

Sharp objects such as knives and scissors or any gift item that includes pointed or sharp objects shall be avoided being given as gifts on the day. This is because according to Chinese superstition, sharp objects are believed to cut away the good luck.

  • Handerkerchief

Giving handerchief is considered as saying goodbye to the person forever. This is because they are associated with death. Handkerchiefs are given on funerals. Therefore, you may strike them off the list.  

  • Umbrella

Gifting an umbrella is thought to be bad for relationships. Since, the Chinese word for umbrella sounds similar to the word for falling apart, it isn’t considered as a good gift. Hence, avoid gifting Umbrella to your friends and family on Chinese New Year 2017.  

Read More: Chinese New Year 2017: Good luck gifts for the Year of the Fire Rooster

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