When it comes to CNY gifting, there’s plenty to stay away from. Of which, the most well-known are clocks (watches count too!), and shoes. The act of gifting a clock can be taken as “paying one’s last respects”, while gifting shoes is thought to bring bad luck.
Start the year on the right foot and note! We’ve compiled a list of What Not To Gift here. Otherwise, check out our other gift guides if you need more gifting solutions.
1. No ``fours``
In Chinese, 四 (four) is very close to 死 (death). Never gift a red packet with a monetary amount that includes the number four! The same applies to nearly everything else too, including lucky bamboo stalks.
2. No old and torn notes
It’s common to see a snaking queue at banks on days leading up to CNY, but why is there so much emphasis placed on getting fresh notes? Turns out, gifting old or torn notes in red packets is a huge no-no as it’s a sign of disrespect.
3. No sharp objects
一刀两断 (two segments with a single cut); gifting knives, scissors, or anything sharp can “sever a relationship”.
5. No wallets
Despite all the transactions being made on CNY, gifting a wallet is major taboo. In traditional Chinese culture, it’s akin to giving away your money and luck for the year.
6. No candles
Candles are usually used alongside offerings for the dead. As such, they cannot be given as gifts, even if they are wonderfully fragrant. Sad, we know, but you can totally shelf the idea for Valentine’s or Galentine’s instead!