Taboos to avoid during Lantern Festival in Taiwan

A list of taboos to avoid during the Lantern Festival to ensure a lucky and prosperous new year

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Taipei Lantern Festival lanterns.

Taipei Lantern Festival lanterns. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Today is the Lantern Festival (元宵節), which marks 15th and last day of the Lunar New Year festivities, the first full moon of the new year, and an auspicious day in which lanterns are lit and Yuanxiao dumplings are eaten, however, there are also some taboos to observe to ensure a fortunate and prosperous new year.

Taiwanese numerology expert Meng Chuan (孟娟) in an interview with Apple Daily said that it is taboo to have one's hair cut on this day because the word for hair (髮, fa) is homophonic with the word (發, fa), as in (發財, facai), meaning to make a fortune. Therefore, cutting one's hair would symbolize cutting off the path to fortune in the coming year, meaning that it would be difficult to save money.

Meng also said that it is important not to sweep on the Lantern Festival as it would represent sweeping away the family fortune for the coming year.

In addition, the Chinese zodiac animal most negatively affected by this year's Lantern Festival is the Boar, therefore people born under the Year of the Boar cannot be careless. Also, Boars will have conflicts with Snakes, Monkeys and Tigers, therefore people with these zodiac signs all need to exercise caution during the Lantern Festival.

During the Lantern Festival, it is imperative that couples that have these zodiac symbols be as peaceful as possible and not quarrel so as to avoid easily breaking up, said Meng.


Child looking at lanterns during Taipei Lantern Festival. (CNA image)

Another reason to avoid jealous quarrels on Lantern Festival is because this day is birthday of the Orient's Ruler of Heaven, also known as the Jade Emperor (天官, Tian Gong, or Yu Huang Dadi), who, according to Taoist beliefs, is the supreme deity and "the God of Heaven." The Orient's Ruler of Heaven likes lively activity but not loud quarreling, therefore parents are advised to not let their children cry and have temper tantrums when reuniting in the home on this day, otherwise there will be bad luck.

Lastly, Meng said that the Lantern Festival is a suitable day to go to the temple to pray, however, women who are menstruating are reminded to avoid going to temples at all cost.