When in China, do as the Chinese do(2)

Updated 2018-02-13 09:17:05

Do not call too early

On the first morning of Lunar New Year, it is unwise to call somebody before he wakes up. The first meal is important to Chinese people. They eat with their families and without others' interference. Before you pay your friends a New Year call, make sure they have finished their meals.

Eat dumplings

Eating dumplings around the holidays is a popular tradition in China. They're delicious. The Chinese word for them, jiaozi, is similar to the ancient word for new replacing the old.

The shape of a Chinese-style dumpling resembles the piece of gold that was used as money in ancient times. A plate full of dumplings looks like a big pile of gold, symbolizing wealth in the coming year.

Taboos during a meal

On the second day of the Chinese New Year, you may be invited to enjoy a grand meal, with wine, that needs a long time to prepare. During the meal, according to traditions, there are many things you need to take notice of.

First, you are expected to offer propitious words such as "Happy New Year," "Congratulations and be prosperous" or "May all your wishes be fulfilled," while mentions of death, disease, failure, surplus should be avoided.

Second, avoid breaking any dishes and dropping chopsticks as breaking objects is considered inauspicious. If this does happen, one may immediately say "suisuiping'an," which means "everlasting peace year after year."

Third, Chinese people are enthusiastic hosts. When you are eating, they usually like to put food on your plates to show hospitality. It is considered impolite to refuse all the time. If you are indeed full, just say thanks and show your gratitude to them for their enthusiasm.

Don't buy books

Avid readers may want to stock up on their books and magazines before the Lunar New Year, because it's bad luck to buy them during the 15-day Spring Festival hoilday.

The Chinese word for book (shu) sounds exactly the same as the word for "lose," so buying a book right after ringing in the new year is considered an invitation for bad luck. Furthermore, avoid giving books as gifts.

Avoid taking medicine

It is a taboo for a person to brew herbal medicine or take medicine on the first day of the Lunar New Year, otherwise it is believed that he or she will get sick for the entire year.

In some places, after the bell announces the arrival of the New Year's Day, sickly people break their gallipots (medicine pots) in the belief that this custom will drive the illness away in the coming year.

If you heed all of the above-mentioned information and suggestions, the occasion of the Chinese New Year will be a joyous experience to you and yours.

Gongxi facai, hongbao nalai!

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