The Lunar New Year is an important Asian festival celebrated at the turn of the lunisolar Chinese calendar. It is also known as the Spring Festival, the literal translation of the modern Chinese name. Celebrations traditionally run from the eve to the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first calendar month. The first day of the New Year falls on some day between 21 January and 20 February.
Before getting gifts for your loved ones, know that there is an etiquette to gift giving during the Chinese New Years. When there is a culture gap, be careful and do your research before giving any gifts. Although you intentions are good, you don’t want to make any one upset with a gift you are giving. Here are a few items that you should not give for the Lunar New Year:
- Shoes are a bad idea because the word “shoes” sounds like a word for bad luck or evil. Also in a literal sense, shoes are something that you step on daily and not appreciated.
- “Giving a clock” sounds exactly like the Chinese words for ‘attending a funeral ritual,’ which is why it’s bad luck to give clocks and watches. Clocks represent time so the gift receiver may feel like they’re running out of time, especially if they’re elderly.
- Avoid giving any type of mirrors. Throughout much of Asia, mirrors are believed the attract malicious ghosts.
- Nothing sharp should be exchanged. Giving somebody a sharp object insinuates that you want to cut off your relationship with them. A common Chinese saying goes “one slash and its in two parts” to mean the end of a relationship between people.
- Cut flowers are usually given at funerals, so it’s not a good idea for Chinese New Year! White is an unlucky color in Chinese culture, so especially white flowers should be avoided.
- In Chinese, the number four sounds very similar to the word for death. Therefore, anything with the number 4 is considered unlucky — do not give gifts in sets or multiples of four. Fun fact: Many hotels don’t even have a 4th floor, similar to how some hotels in America don’t have a 13th floor.
Although there are a few items that you should not buy for Lunar New Year, there are plenty of items that you can buy without crossing any boundaries.
- School supplies are great if the family has children. You can buy them electronics or something they can use to help them with school work. (Think – calculators, books, new pens, etc)
- Clothing is always a great choice for all ages.
- Small appliances such as a toaster, microwave, vacuum or steam cleaner are practical items that every household needs.
If you’re like me, you’ll make the easy choice and grab a gift card for your Lunar New Year present that way your friends and family can buy exactly what they want and you won’t have to tip toe around the do’s and don’ts. Best Buy is helping celebrate the event with an Asian-inspired Giftcard and eGiftcard, available for purchase or gifting from BestBuy.com through February 13th, 2016.