TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Friday (Feb. 26) is the Lantern Festival (元宵節), which marks the 15th and final day of the Lunar New Year festivities, as well as the first full moon of the new year.
It is an auspicious day during 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.
Yang Teng-kei (楊登嵙), a folk custom expert and the founding chairman of the Taichung Numerology Education Association, has provided the following list of taboos to steer clear of on the Lantern Festival:
1. Avoid familial strife
Married couples should avoid conflicts. Parents should try to ensure their children do not cry and not hit them, so as to not bring bad luck to the family.
2. Don't get a haircut
The Chinese word for hair (髮, fa) is a homonym with the word fortune (發, fa). Getting a haircut on this day symbolizes cutting away at one's potential wealth and will result in financial losses for the year.
3. Don't see the doctor
Unless a medical condition suddenly worsens or one has already been hospitalized, making an unessential visit to the doctor could result in endless sickness and pain in the coming year.
4. Keep tools and equipment in good operating order
Damage to tools or equipment signifies the loss of wealth and bad luck. Therefore, it is advisable to check such implements and devices in advance and make sure they are functioning properly to prevent any damage.
5. Stay away from sketchy places
People who are weak or tend to have bad luck should avoid going to places with negative, yin energy (陰氣) such as desolate areas on the outskirts of town, cemeteries, and columbariums. Visiting such places will only bring more misfortune.
6. Prevent property loss
If a person loses their property on this day, it means that they will be unable to manage their finances and could easily miss good opportunities throughout the coming year. Therefore, special attention should be paid to avoiding the loss of property before this day arrives.
7. Don't lend money
One should not lend money on this day. Otherwise, others will borrow away their good luck for the year.
8. Don't empty out the rice pot
Do not allow the bottom of the rice pot to be exposed, because it is a bad omen that will negatively impact financial fortunes.
9. Avoid damage to clothing
Make sure that clothing does not become tattered or torn on this day. Otherwise, one will suffer financial loss and misfortune.
10. Don't slaughter animals
If one slaughters livestock on the Lantern Festival, it will lead to financial loss and bodily injuries. The exception is people whose livelihood depends on it such as butchers.
11. No swearing or cursing
Swearing or cursing on the festival, otherwise disasters will come from the slip of the tongue. One will be prone to misspeaking and starting arguments.
12. Do not wear outfits with white or black stripes
White and black are related to prison and death. Wearing clothing with stripes of these colors on the Lantern Festival will result in an inability to realize any of one's aspirations.