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Arts Culture Chinese New Year 2020 Gift Guide: What To Give And Not To Give

Chinese New Year 2020 Gift Guide: What To Give And Not To Give

Chinese New Year 2020 Gift Guide: What To Give And Not To Give
By Syrah Vivien Inocencio
January 17, 2020
Whether in the form of red envelopes (ang pao) or other material goods, selecting and giving gifts are actually meaningful during the Chinese New Year holidays as it is about exchanging good wishes and luck for the coming year. Here are some basic rules to follow for a guaranteed lucky new year:

Clocks are bad luck

Clock and watches symbolise 'running out of time', which connects to death. Giving a clock or a watch as a gift is one of the biggest don’ts — especially true for seniors.

Don’t give sharp objects

Sharp scissors, knives, swords, razors, among other else symbolise ending bonds. Giving somebody a sharp object implies you want to cut off your relationship with that person.

New money means lucky

Crisp and new money is a sign of respect and a symbol of wishing good luck to someone’s wealth for the year ahead. It is considered disrespectful to give old or torn notes. Also make sure that the amount is an even number except the number 4 (sì) as it is pronounced nearly the same with death (sĭ).

Shoes are “evil”

Giving out shoes as a gift for Chinese New Year is bad luck because the word “shoes” (xié pronounced as /syeah/) sounds similarly like a word for bad luck or evil (xié è).

Cut flowers are unlucky

Generally, cut flowers are given in funerals so it should not be given during Chinese New Year. Any white flowers cannot also be gifted because the colour white is an unlucky colour in Chinese culture.

No black or white objects

The colour black and white are colours used in funerals. Avoid giving out items that are black or white, or using wrapping paper or envelopes in these colours. However, red is believed to be a lucky colour so it is a great option to use this Chinese New Year.

Mirrors attract ghosts

Throughout much of Asia, mirrors are a bad idea for gifts as they are believed to attract bad spirits. On top of that, mirrors are easily broken and breaking things is a bad omen.

Use both hands

When giving or receiving a gift, make sure to always use both hands. This is a custom in Chinese tradition especially when giving things like money and business card. It shows respect and appreciation towards the act and the giver.

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