The Lunar New Year is a rather important festival in China and a season of giving. During this festival, people give gifts to express their love and respect. This is the time to usher out the old year and welcome the new one with many celebrations. Although celebrating Chinese New Year with your friends is a great thing, you may give out the wrong gift if the cultural gap is wide. This is why it is essential to know about the festival and some of the presents prohibited during the celebrations to avoid giving the wrong gift. However, items such as the zodiac new year t-shirt, fortune tassels, commemorative coins, and lucky bracelets are acceptable gifts as they resonate with the occasion.
13 Gifts Prohibited As Chinese New Year Gifts
1. Sharp Objects
If you have a sharp object lying around your house, it can be a recipe for disaster. Sharp objects are believed to cut your good luck. If you gift someone a sharp object, for instance, scissors, it insinuates that you plan on cutting off your relationship with that person. A Chinese saying goes, “one slash and it’s in two parts,” meaning that it is the end of a relationship between two individuals.
2. Any Gift With The Number Four
According to Chinese traditions, the number four is associated with death because the two words sound similar in Chinese. Therefore, gifting anything with the number 4 will be considered unlucky, including sets and multiples of four. Chinese people evade this number as much as possible, and in buildings, you may find that there is no fourth floor.
A pair of shoes is not a good idea for gifts for the Chinese New Year celebration. Chinese people believe that the word shoe is similar to the word bad luck or evil in Chinese; therefore, it should never be given as a present during the festival. Moreover, people use shoes to step on, so it’s good to avoid them as gifts. Giving someone a pair of shoes means that you are sending evil to them.
Handkerchiefs are generally given at the end of funerals, and they mean that you are saying goodbye to the person forever. If you gift a Chinese person a handkerchief during the lunar new year, it may insinuate that you are saying goodbye to them forever and cutting all ties.
A clock symbolizes time running out, thus why the Chinese view it as a rude gift, mainly if gifted to a senior. A clock also sounds similar to the word for attending funeral rituals in Chinese, hence why it is bad luck to gift a clock or a watch. You should avoid giving this gift to your Chinese friends as they may think that you are rude.
Gifting fruit baskets is quite common in the Chinese lunar year, but you should avoid including pears as part of the gift basket. Pears and parting or leaving are similar in Chinese, and thus why gifting them may be seen as a way of saying goodbye to someone.
7. Cut Flowers
At funerals, people give out cut flowers as presents, so the Chinese do not give them out during the lunar year. Some flowers, including the Yellow Chrysanthemums and all-white flowers, represent death, therefore a big no during the lunar year. Moreover, white is associated with unlucky funeral color in the Chinese culture.
Many superstitions are associated with homophones in Chinese culture, including the word umbrella, which sounds like split. Giving an umbrella as a gift to your friends means that you want to split with them. An umbrella is a thankless gift, especially to your partner.
9. Black And White Objects
In Chinese culture, people use black or white during funerals. It would help if you avoided presents in either of the two colors or wrapping paper and envelopes in these colors. If you don’t know which color to go for, try red as it is believed to be a festive and fortunate color hence an excellent option for envelopes and presents.
During the Chinese New Year, people avoid giving mirrors as presents because they are fragile and, if broken, may signify an omen of relationship breakdown. Moreover, according to the Chinese Feng Shui culture, mirrors are essential tools for changing a Feng Shui’s house layout; therefore, if placed in a wrong direction, the mirror will cause a misfortune to come.
Wallets and purses stand for people’s wealth, and gifting them, is an omen of chasing your fortune away. Nonetheless, you can give a wallet to your partner if you share the same household wealth.
12. Belts, Ties, And Underwear
Belts, ties, and underwear are considered to be improper gifts to give your ordinary friends during the lunar new year. These personal items usually hint that you would like to develop a more intimate relationship with the recipient. Therefore, if that is not your intention, you should avoid buying personal items for your friends.
The Chinese wear hats when an elderly family member has passed away. Besides, gifting a green hat will satirize a man whose wife is disloyal, which is a deadly insult to the gift receiver. It would help if you kept hats out of your gift list as they may send the wrong message.
Gift Ideas For Lunar New Year
We have rounded the top four gifts to buy if you are looking for Chinese New Year gift ideas. Read on!
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1. Year Of The Ox Chinese Zodiac Lunar New Year T-Shirt
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A t-shirt is a perfect gift idea for your Chinese male friends who love astrology and the Chinese zodiac. The t-shirt will keep them warm and stylish during this important festival.
Package Dimensions – 10 x 8 x 1 inches; 4.8 Ounces
Manufacturer -Cute Chinese Zodiac Lunar New Year Tees
The t-shirt’s design is perfect for the Chinese New Year. It is a beautiful Ox zodiac gift for people born in 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, and 2021. The design features the year of the Ox with a red envelope written in Chinese calligraphy.
The t-shirt is made of 100% cotton. It is a lightweight material with a classic fit and a double-needle sleeve with a bottom hem.
2. Chinese Lucky Red String Bracelet
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The Tibetan Buddhist handmade string bracelet is a tradition that stems from Kabbalah but is also popular in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity. The red color in the Kabbalistic practice signifies courage, bravery, blood, and protection against any misfortune from people with an evil eye.
Material – Metal
Chain Type – Rope Chain
Brand– Colorful Bling
Clasp Type- Easy Hook
The beautiful bracelet is handmade using cotton rope in 3 colors: red, wine red, and multicolor. The size is adjustable and is a perfect gift for both men and women.
Perfect For Different Faiths
This string bracelet is popular for practitioners of different faiths, including Hinduism, Kabbalah, Buddhism, and Christianity. They use the bracelet in energy work as a talisman for protecting the wearer.
3. Handmade Chinese Knots Fortune Tassels
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A fortune tassel is a unique gift that you can surprise your Chinese friends with during the lunar new year. The gift is also beautiful and will serve as a reminder of your respect toward the recipient.
Occasion– New Year
Item Dimensions– LxWxH 9.06 x 5.91 x 1.18 inches
It can be shared with several people
The package has a pack of 25 tassels, thus, enough to share with your friends and family without breaking a bank for more gifts at more costs.
This traditional Chinese decorative knot has a symmetrical shape with an exquisite design symbolizing good wishes for happiness, health, wealth, and good fortune. Your friends can put this meaningful gift in their handbags, wallets or hang it in their cars to attract good luck.
4. SUSHAFEN 6Pcs Tiger Year Commemorative Coins
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A commemorative coin with the tiered design represents the 2022 Tiger New Year theme. The zodiac tiger represents wisdom and indicates that you can make money in that year, be safe and healthy.
Occasion– New Year
Color– Style 1
The coin is made of high strength zinc alloy core which is wear-resistant and antirust. The material is durable, and the coin is double-sided with pictures representing the front and back.
Gifting the coin to your friends and family shows that you wish them wisdom and hope they will be safe and healthy in the Year of the Tiger.
With the lunar new year being the biggest festival in China, it is crucial to know the gifts you can give and those you cannot. According to Chinese traditions, some presents, such as hats, cut flowers, umbrellas, etc., are associated with bad luck; therefore, you should be careful when choosing a gift for your friends and family.