Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year Superstitions

Certain negative superstitions and taboos have never quite lost their pervasive force. For example, people believe it is unlucky to sweep the floor during the first five days of the lunar New Year, because one might accidentally sweep one's good luck and wealth out of the house. Bad language and talk of death are severely frowned upon. If a dish is broken, it is vital to say sui sui ping, which means "peace throughout the year," as quickly as possible. Joss sticks and altar candles must be kept burning day and night to encourage longevity; and in some households, knives and scissors are put away so that no one will accidentally cut the "thread of good luck" in the year to come.

With its animated movement and brightly colored costumes, dragon and lion dancing stands out as one of the biggest events of the Chinese New Year Festival. A few of these superstitions and rituals have a spiritual aspect to them, and all of Taiwan's temples are usually very busy during this time of year as large numbers of people crowd into them with elevated incense sticks to pray for good luck. Indeed, some of the major temples close their main gates before midnight on Chinese New Year's Eve as noisy and expectant crowds gather outside. At the stroke of midnight, the doors are thrown wide open and people surge forward in an attempt to be the first to place their incense sticks into the censer, as another long-standing tradition states that the first person to do so will be blessed with good luck throughout the coming year.