Chinese New Year Etiquette
Chinese New Year is celebrated by about 17% of the world’s population, making it one of the widely celebrated events on the globe. This year, the Year of the Monkey began on February 8th. Unsurprisingly, the celebrations in the UK are one of the biggest, as it is a home to over 400,000 Chinese, and among the top 10 most popular destinations for Chinese tourists.
If you are trying to target the Chinese communities or planning to do business in China this February, make sure to get familiar with the customs of Lunar New Year. Those not aware of the customs might find it difficult to schedule meetings, finalise deals or communicate effectively with the consumers or partners.
Transactions: Most of the business will be closed on the New Year day. However, if you have an important ongoing project, bare in mind that it is considered a bad luck to send or receive money on that specific day. Watch out not to prick the dragon…
Numbers: In Chinese, the number four is pronounced similar to the word for ‘death’, and anything with the number is considered misfortunate. Avoid giving gifts or giveaways in sets or multiples of four, and consider using the number eight instead, which is the luckiest number in China.
Colours: When giving a gift at Chinese New Year be conscious about the colour of the gift as well as the packaging. The rules are simple; avoid white, black and blue, as they are associated with funerals and death. Avoid wearing monochrome clothes, as these are associated with grief. The luckiest colours are red, yellow and gold, which represent prosperity. This is why the Chinese give red envelopes filled with money on New Year. Even though red is a lucky colour in Chinese society, names shouldn’t be written in this colour, as traditionally, the name of the deceased were tinted in red on their tombstones.
Giving of certain gifts: Avoid using and giving of knives and scissors as any accident is thought to lead to a misfortunate year. Among the most popular gifts are fresh fruit hampers. Always present your gift with both hands, and accept the gift after the giver has insisted a couple of times.
Enjoy the Chinese traditions by joining the massive Chinese New Year celebrations in West End and Trafalgar Square on 14th of February filled with music, acrobatics, pyrotechnics, light projections and fireworks!