eTALK China Insights: Chinese Taboos

Chinese Taboos

While some of these taboos are rather amusing and somewhat outdated, we should respect the idea of observing the traditions of any foreign country you might be travelling to.

The following list could potentially save you from some awkward and embarrassing moments in China!

Gifting Pears

Gifting Pears Taboo

How could an innocent little pear be taboo?

The simple answer is: it implies separation!

The Chinese term for “sharing a pear” sounds very similar to the term “to separate”. Therefore, sharing a pear can act as a symbol of separation.

Better think twice before giving fruits to your significant other!

Hair Cut

China taboo hair cut

The Chinese lunar year brings with it many traditions and has a long history.

One of the taboos is to cut your hair in the first month of the Lunar New Year, as this is considered bad luck… for your uncle!

A lot of hairdressers would use this opportunity to take a long holiday after the lunar new year.

Green Hat

China Taboo Green Hat

You can choose any color you want for your hat, as long as it’s not green. Unless you want others to think that your significant other is cheating on you!

The term “wearing a green hat” is another phrase meaning: “I’ve been cheated on!”

The origin is quite unclear, but it is said that a green hat was given to the lover so that the cheating person could see him or her from a distance.

Gifts in Pairs

Gifting Pairs China Taboo

If you are thinking about getting gifts for friends or family members, you should think carefully about the quantity of things.

„All good things come in pairs“ – this also applies to gifts in China.

When preparing gifts, better avoid the color white, because it represents poverty and sorrow.

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