Cultural difference touches the very essence of who ‘we’ are, the core of our own identity. As a member of this multi-racial country, we have all the opportunities to share and understand the unique cultures of different races and religions. Let's start with the Chinese! If you are going to pay your Chinese friends a visit this coming Chinese New Year, remember not to say or do these things.
1) Never use words relating to death
Your friends will definitely feel offended even though you has said it unintentionally. Do bear in mind that Chinese is pretty sensitive over the use of this word during their big celebration. Even the number four is considered as unlucky because it sounds similar to the word for death.
2) Never use any foul words in any sorts of language
If you are so used to use foul languages in your conversation, you may have to refrain yourself from doing so for 15 days until Chinese New Year ends. The Chinese may think you are scolding them badly during their festive celebration.
3) Never say lose, losing or loss
Gambling is a must-do activity among the Chinese during Chinese New Year. They do not expect to hear any words that are relating to lose, losing, loss and etc. as they believe that the more they hear this, the lesser the chance for them to win throughout the entire celebration period.
4) Never mention about bad incidents
Any words that are related to 'fall down', 'accidents', or other unlucky incidents shall not be mentioned as Chinese believe that Chinese New Year is a celebration full of joy and happiness.
5) Never show bad emotion or temper
Chinese dislike any gloomy, depressed, anger or any negative emotions during this joyful celebration. We urge you to not to spread all these negative emotion to the people around you.
6) Do not sweep the floor
Chinese fear that good fortune will be swept away, hence, they will put away all brooms, brushes, dusters, dust pans and other cleaning equipment on the eve of Chinese New Year.
7) Put away sharp objects
Accidentally hurting somebody during Chinese New Year is highly prohibited. In addition, Chinese believe giving or receiving sharp objects mean that you would want to 'cut off' the relationship with the other person, i.e. end of relationship between both parties.
8) Giveaway gifts that have hidden meanings
Buying something for your Chinese friends when you pay them a visit is a good intention. However, the existence of cultural gap may easily lead us to get the wrong gifts. Be careful when you are selecting your gifts as Chinese believe that there are hidden meanings for some of the items, for example, shoes mean 'sigh' or 'unfortunate', handkerchief means 'goodbye forever', clock means 'attending a funeral ritual' and etc.
9) Never tell anyone you have just visited a grave site
In Chinese beliefs, graveyard is a place full of negative aura that will totally twist the good luck into bad luck. Durin g Chinese New Year, it is believe that if you stay near a person who have just visited a grave site, the both of you will receive bad luck throughout the entire Chinese New Year period.