No buying of shoes during the Chinese New Year

Those who celebrate Chinese New Year know that they actually have 15 days to celebrate the festivity. So Chinese New Year is not officially over till 17 February. There are a whole load of superstitions and taboos to be observed during this period and so today, I’ll discussed some pertaining only to the interest of women.

Do not buy shoes during the entire Chinese New Year
So the Chinese, particularly the Cantonese, believe that we shouldn’t buy shoes during the entire 15 days of the Chinese New Year. From what I understand, that’s because shoes sound like the word *sigh* in Cantonese but others point out that it’s because the word ‘shoes’ in Cantonese is a homonym for ‘rough’ but I totally don’t get this. Anyway, I almost got myself a pair of new shoes yesterday because I thought a pair of FitFlop was going at $39.90. It was only upon close examination did I realize that it’s an imitation. So give me a real pair of FitFlop at $39.90 and I’ll buy them Chinese New Year or not!

Do not wear old garments during Chinese New Year
A colleague mentioned that her husband was particularly annoyed that new clothes must be worn during this season. Honestly, I’ve not been observing this for some years now. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. But I try to make it a point to at least get new underwear though.

Do not wear inauspicious colors during Chinese New Year
Red, orange, yellow and gold are popular choices of colors for a lot of the clothes this season. These are colors that will usher in ‘good luck’ according to most Chinese. So black and white are considered inauspicious and taboo colors because they symbolize death and are particularly frowned upon by the older generation. I hardly wear black anyway but neither did I deliberately choose to wear anything red or gold. But I did put on something that was in orange on the second day.

Do not cut or wash hair during Chinese New Year
Not washing our hair during Chinese New Year is impossible to me and I washed my hair even on the first day. Apparently, washing our hair would mean washing away ‘good luck”. I suppose it’s the same for cutting our hair or perhaps it’s also got to do with the avoidance of using knives or scissors during this season as Chinese believe it would lead to a ‘cut in fortune’. I usually cut mine before Chinese New Year so it’s unlikely I’ll be cutting it any time soon.

These are the few taboos I’m aware of pertaining to the interest of women. If there are any that I may have missed, please add on in the comments section. So any of you observe these superstitions and taboos during this Chinese New Year? What’s your ‘must observe’ from the list?


  1. synical says:

    I didn’t know about not buying shoes during CNY – I actually bought a pair of sneakers and slippers on the third day… whoops.

  2. kiwi says:

    So that means for the entire 15 days of CNY, we can’t cut our hair? ):

  3. stella says:

    looks like i’ve broken all of them at one time or another; i was even going to go cut my hair on the second day of chinese new year this year!

  4. Audris says:

    Oops I didn’t know about the shoes and hair bit.

    I’ve stopped buying new clothes just for CNY too. Considering that we’re in a shopping city and buy new clothes, shoes, accesories and whatnot so regularly, it has quite lost its meaning. I suspect this new clothes tradition was probably carried over from older times when people were more frugal with their wardrobe.

    Erh I do make it a point to wear brighter/floral patterns on the first 2 days, but usually with a darker coloured background or black pants.

  5. Pollya says:

    Think there is something about it’s taboo to sweep the floor during the… is it 1st, 2nd or 3rd day, or all the days of the CNY, I’m not sure… It’s something to do with sweeping away your luck, as opposed to letting the luck come in (to the house). Anyone else who knows the specific details can enlighten ?

  6. Soos says:

    I’m Japanese, so I’m sure we share some similar traditions – that I don’t follow. Some friends I know clean everything crazily before the NY.

    I finally figured out what Chinese here in Hawaii call li see are your ang pow. There was an especially long fireworks display visible across the city last night. Only the Narcissus queen, Miss Chinatown and there courts wear cheongsam.

    A classmate of mine belongs to a martial arts society and participates in the lion dance – she’s the tail. It’s unusual even here for a woman to be involved thus.

  7. sesame says:

    I didn’t know Japanese have similar traditions. Spring cleaning probably is quite common. I’ve been skipping that for awhile now. Can’t be bothered since I can’t possibly spring clean every corner.

    The ang pows are quite interesting. Some banks and shops print really nice ones.

    Oh a lady in lion dance…very unusual over here too. Don’t think I’ve seen one in action.

  8. sesame says:

    Yup, no sweeping and no emptying of dustbins too. My mom used to tell me that her mom swept everything under the cupboard without using a dustpan. IMO, if one wants to be strict in observing it, then shouldn’t be emptying dustbins too in the 15 days!

  9. sesame says:

    Yeah…doesn’t make sense anymore. In fact, I find it hard to shop during CNY unless I want to shop months in advance. But strange to wait till CNY to wear them.

  10. sesame says:

    Cut your hair on the 2nd day? I thought most salons are still closed.

  11. sesame says:

    Well, if you wish to observe that “rule”, then yes.

  12. sesame says:

    If you don’t care for these superstitions, then don’t bother. I don’t think they matter except for people who are really particular. I mean there are 101 things to observe so if we break one, I think we break all. ?

  13. Liesl says:

    Oh dear I’ve bought shoes over the weekend and cut my hair too. Hehe. I do buy new clothes though and not wear black. It’s spring and black is so gloomy. It just feel good to put on new clothes on cny. And springcleaning is a must. Everything feels like a fresh new start is a good start to kick off a new year.

  14. sesame says:

    Haha…don’t worry too much about it. It’s impossible to observe everything and this is a bit like the 10 commandments…if you break one, you break all. So well, just chill as long as you’re comfortable. ?

  15. fwy says:

    When I became a Catholic few years ago, I had not been observing these rules for a long time and cannot really recall all these superstitions anymore. Moreever, its unhygenic not to wash your hair or empty your rubbish.

  16. sesame says:

    It’s pointless for believers. Totally.

  17. unrqppkurb says:


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