The do's and don'ts for Chinese New Year

January 28 is Lunar New Year and marks an important day for millions of people around the world and comes with a whole lot of traditions and delicious foods. Registered dietitian, Sue Mah, recently joined Melissa to tell us more about it.


  • Clean, sweep or dust your house because it will sweep out the good luck. If possible, clean up your house before the new year.
  • Wash your hair. This is also thought to wash away the good luck and good fortune.
  • Speak any negative words. For example, don't talk about death and don't say the number “four” because this sounds like the word for “death” in Chinese.

  • Wear red because it's a lucky colour!
  • Repay your debts so that you have no money owning going into the New Year.
  • Give or accept lucky money envelopes. If you're married, you give lucky money to your kids, nephews and nieces. If you're single or unmarried, you can still receive these lucky money envelopes from your parents.
  • Serve a feast! Don't know what to serve? See below.

This is a must-have on the menu because the Chinese word for fish sounds like the word for “abundance” or “having a lot”—the idea is you'll have a lot of money or wealth. The steamed fish is eaten whole, with the head and tail intact, because this represents a good start and end to the new year. The head of the fish should be placed towards the elders or guests as a sign of respect.

This is always on the menu because the Chinese word for chicken sounds like the word for “prosperity”.

Your dumplings can be either pork, shrimp or vegetarian. The boat shape of the dumplings symbolize wealth and resemble the shape of the gold and silver ingots which were used as money 2,000 years ago. Legend has it that the more dumplings you can eat on New Year's, the more money you will make that year.

The long noodles symbolize a long life.

Mandarin oranges and almond cookies
Have a bowl of 6, 8 or 9 oranges since these are considered lucky numbers and the oranges also symbolize luck and good fortune.