Homophones and Chinese New Year taboos
Chinese New Year is the most important festival for Chinese people.
Apart from different celebrations, there are a lot of strange taboos during the Spring Festival.
Some of the taboos are related to the homophones in the Chinese language.
Frank the tour guide is going to show you four of them in this post.
Frank thinks people should not be over anxious about the Chinese New Year taboos.
Life should be easy.
Frank the tour guide hopes he can show clients more about the interesting Chinese New Year during his easy Hong Kong private tour in the near future.
Don’t buy book to avoid loss (Book,書,syu1、Loss,輸,syu1)
Gamblers and speculators don’t buy book during the Chinese New Year.
They believe that buying book (書, syu1) just brings loss (輸, syu1) to them.
They just don’t want to lose money during the mahjong games during family reunions, poker games in Macau casinos and horse racings in Sha Tin Race Course.
They even call all the books (書, syu1) as “win” (贏, jeng4).
So “I read that book” becomes “I read the win”!
This shows their determination to win more money from gambling.
However, the record turnover, 1.8 billion HKD, on the Chinese New Year Horse Racing Day in 2021 just reflects the Hong Kong Jockey Club is the biggest winner!
Don’t get haircut to avoid cutting the chance of making fortune (hair,髮,faat3、fortune,發,faat3)
A lot of people believe that it is unlucky to cut the hair during the new year.
They think that cutting their hair (髮, faat3) may cut their chance of making fortune (發, faat3) away.
Thus most people have their haircut before the Chinese New Year.
Salons in Hong Kong charge the customers extra in the last month of the Lunar calendar.
People mostly need to wait for quite a long time to get the haircut.
Actually time is money.
During Chinese New Year, it is very easy to get the haircut at the salons.
You can save more time to make more money or do other tasks.
Don’t buy shoes to avoid sigh (shoes,鞋,haai4、嚡,sigh,haai4)
Shoes in Chinese is 鞋 (haai4).
The pronunciation is very similar to another character 嚡 (haai4), which has the meaning of sigh!
People see Chinese New Year as the good time for happy family reunion.
People want to dodge sigh, sadness and unhappiness.
So they don’t buy new shoes during the Spring Festival.
The shoe shop managers don’t sigh when they know shoes are unpopular during new year.
They offer new year big sale to attract shoppers, who have cash after getting a lot of red envelops!
Don’t use unlucky words, like four (four,四,sei3、death,死,sei2)
Chinese always believes silence is golden!
If we speak, we should say something good and polite.
This is especially important during the Chinese New Year.
The red banners and the younger generations’ blessings to their parents show Chinese have a lot of ways to express the good wishes.
When people talk about lives during Chinese New Year, people just focus on kids’ healthier growth and seniors’ longer life.
People should avoid talking about death (死, sei2) and the homophone four (四, sei3) to dodge bad luck!
Frank hopes he can show more about the interesting CNY to clients
Frank the tour guide suggests that people should not worry too much about the imaginary taboos related to the homophones.
Life should be easy!
People should think positively and enjoy the Chinese New Year celebration.
Frank hopes he can introduce more interesting details about Chinese New Year to clients during his Hong Kong private tour in the near future.