Wah, Singapore sia, a vibrant and diverse melting pot of cultures. Within each culture lies its own quirky pantangs (superstition) and beliefs. With Chinese New Year (CNY) fast approaching, we’ll be taking a look at the Top 10 Chinese Pantang we bet you’ve never heard of. From no bathing to even no eating white-coloured foods, join us as we discover unfamiliar traditions that make our CNY uniquely Singapore.
1. No Washing Clothes Or Bathing
During CNY hor, we have this funny tradition that for the first and second day of the lunar year, we cannot wash our clothes or bathe. Because right, it is the birthday of the Water god, so we must show respect and keep things dry. If you’re worried about being smelly, there’s nothing a little febreze can’t solve. For those who have been through army, you know what we’re talking about lah.
2. No Crying
Big boys and girls don’t cry… According to Chinese superstition hor, if you cry on the first day of Chinese New Year, you’ll be signing up for a year-long emotional rollercoaster. Jialat sia, cannot watch Korean dramas liao. Some more right, if kids cry, the whole family kena bad luck also leh. So on the first day, make sure you turn your frown upside down so you can huat ah.
3. Don’t Wake People Up When They’re Sleeping
Beauty sleep is important, so don’t go anyhow wake people up on CNY morning when they’re sleeping hor. If you do, they will be working like siao (crazy) for the whole year. Nobody wants that right? So remember to not be annoying and let your loved ones follow their dreams… by letting them sleep. (Must remember to wake up hor)
4. Don’t Eat Meat On 1st & 15th Day Of CNY
This one confirm a bit difficult for some people. Even though CNY is about feasting right, the belief is that if you avoid meat on the 1st and 15th day, you will live a long and happy life. Another belief is that Buddhist gods arrive on Earth on the 1st day to greet each other, thus we should not eat meat to show them respect. Although we are not sure what will happen when you eat meat during those days, it’s better to be safe than sorry lah.
5. No White-Coloured Foods
As everyone knows lah, red is like the superstar colour during CNY, bringing all the good luck and huat vibes. But sad sia, white is the opposite, symbolizing death, so it’s a big no-no to serve and eat white foods like tofu, eggs, and white bread. Don’t want to kena invite death to your reunion dinners right? Don’t geikiang (act smart)! and try to serve food with more auspicious colours such as red, yellow, and green.
6. No Cut or Broken Noodles
Noodle lovers no need worry as you can enjoy eating them throughout CNY, just make sure hor you don’t cut or break your noodles. According to tradition, cutting your noodles is believed to shorten one’s lifespan. Rabak sia. Actually right, embracing long noodles, often called ‘longevity noodles,’ is a popular practice during the festive season, symbolizing you live long long.
7. Don’t Eat Pear During CNY
Typically known as a sweet and refreshing treat, it is advised not to share Pears with loved ones during CNY. Because the word for pear in Chinese (lí) sounds the same as “leave”, giving someone a pear during this festive season means “goodbye”. Whether it’s true or not, just be sure you can pear (bear) the consequences.
8. No Empty Fridge On 1st Day of CNY
Nobody is going to judge you for keeping your fridge fully stocked after reading about this pantang. Because food is life and a necessity, ensuring your fridge and rice container are well-stocked means you will have everything you need for the year ahead. Who don’t want sia? So, be sure to fill them up before CNY starts and keep out all the bad luck and vibes for the upcoming festive season.
9. Don’t Take Afternoon Nap On First Day Of CNY
Guess what comes after eating good food, a good nap right? Sorry lah, but it is better to tahan your food coma on the first day of CNY as taking an afternoon nap that day indicates laziness for the next year. Perhaps keep yourself busy by spending time with your loved ones or… maybe just keep eating to keep yourself awake.
10. Settle All Debts
If you want to huat the rest of the year, remember to settle all your debts before CNY starts. Because right, the belief is that if you start the new year with debts, jialat sia, the whole year also like that. Lending money on CNY eve or the first day also cannot leh if not you asking for daiji (problem). Better be safe than sorry so make sure you owe money pay money ok.
Don’t Say We Never Tell You Ah!
To wrap things up, Chinese superstitions offer a peek into the “rojak” blend of cultures and beliefs in Singapore. These beliefs not only influence our decisions but also encompass who we are, which might make us a little too kiasu at times. So hor, whether it’s tapping into the huat vibes or steering clear of suay situations, Chinese superstitions continue to remain an integral part of the Chinese culture.
Have a prosperous Lunar New Year!
Cover Photo: Clensta (Facebook), Beano (Website), Ronjamesitaliankitchen (Website), Quickmeme (Website)
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