Thursday, February 4, 2016

Celebrating Chinese New Year: What Not To Bring as Gift When Invited

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It's almost Chinese New Year, and many of us here were invited by a Chinese Family to join for the celebration. You can be one of them too. Since there are a lot of Chinese people who are living also in the Philippines, some of them would celebrate at their respective homes in Alveo Land Manila or any other properties in the Philippines.

Of course, just like the typical New Year celebration, there will also be parties and exchanging of gifts. However, there are Chinese cultures that we are not familiar with. And if we are unaware of it, we might offend them. And I'm sure you don't want to offend them. Right? That is why, before deciding on what thing you want to give them, think first if it fits with their culture.

Yes, there are things that Chinese people are particular with. Perhaps, they are also particular with its Feng Shui that it brings. Well, if you are one of those people who were invited by one of your Chinese friends or family, then below are some things that you should not bring as a gift.

Sharp objects
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Bringing and giving somebody sharp objects such as scissors or knife is definitely a no-no. for Chinese people, sharp objects would mean that you want to cut off your relationship or friendship with them. When you slash something with a sharp object, it would divide into two parts. That also applies to the relationships that you have. So, try not to have it as your gift to them.

The number four
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Chinese people considered number four unlucky, since, in Chinese, number four (四 sì /srr/) sounds similar to the word for death (死 sǐ). That is why there is no 4th floor in any of their buildings and hotels. Generally, this doesn't mean you're going to give the number 4 literally. Number 4 would also mean sets or multiples of four.

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A lot of us would be happy when someone would give us shoes. But for Chinese people, it is one of the things that are a bad luck.  Since the word shoes (鞋 xié /syeah/) sounds exact the same for bad luck or "evil" which is (邪 xié). That is why shoes are a bad idea for gifts.

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For some of us, handkerchiefs are important that is why some of us here love to have it as a gift. But in Chinese culture, they usually give handkerchiefs at the end of the funeral. That is why handkerchief would mean death, severing all ties or saying goodbye forever. And you definitely don't want to insult them by giving them handkerchiefs, right?

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In Chinese culture, when you say "giving a clock" (送钟 sòng zhōng /song jong/), it sounds like saying "attending a funeral ritual" (送终 sòng zhōng), and it is also a bad luck for them. Moreover, clocks or watches also symbolize that you or he/she is running out of time. That is why no to clocks as gifts.

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We all love to eat fruits. Who wouldn't? But when it comes to giving of pears to the Chinese people, it is definitely a no-no since pears (梨 lí /lee/) sounds so similar to the word "parting" (离 lí).

Cut flowers
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In Chinese, giving of cut flowers is usually done for funerals. Flowers such as yellow Chrysanthemums and any white flowers represent death. The color white is the unlucky (funeral) in Chinese culture. That is why you should not give cut flowers to them.

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Mirrors are believed to attract malicious ghost. Moreover, mirrors are easily broken, which can also bring bad omen to the family. Of course, mirrors are not an advisable thing to have as a gift not only to Chinese culture but throughout much of Asia.

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