9 Things You Should Not Give As Presents According to Chinese Superstitions
Gift giving is universal but not every culture has the same tradition. Gift symbolism and mannerism is a big part of Chinese culture. Here is a list of items you should never give to a Chinese as gift.
1. Clock/Table Clock-
Giving an object that keeps/measures time is considered an abomination in Chinese culture. In mandarin “giving a clock as gift/present’ is translated as 送钟 (sòng zhōng), which sounds just like the words for being at a funeral ritual, 送终 (sòng zhōng). Clock symbolizes time is passing by or time is running out. If a Chinese gives you clock as a gift, better look for the nearest airport and leave the country. Do not give Clocks as a gift in China.
Giving umbrella as gift in China very bad omen because the Chinese translation sounds like “fall apart or lose”. The word for an umbrella in Mandarin, 伞 (sǎn), sounds just like the word for loose or fall apart, 散 (sǎn), thus representing that the relationship with the recipient has ended.
Mirrors are thought to attract ghost in Asia. So it’s believed that giving a mirror as gift cause the recipients to change for the worse.
4. The Number 4
5. Handkerchief- A symbol of goodbye forever
Generally, people give handkerchief at the end of a funeral. So giving a Chinese handkerchief as a gift insinuates you’re saying goodbye forever.
Any objects that cut things into two should be avoided as a gift. It symbolizes hatred and break up or separation in Chinese Culture.
7. Green Hats
Giving green hats as a gift is a bad idea in China because it implies that the wearer’s partner is unfaithful to them.
8. Pears- Parting
Fruits as a gift are wonderful but giving pears is a taboo. This is because of the Chinese word for ‘pears’
(梨 lí /lee/) sounds the same as the word for leaving or ‘parting’ (离 lí). It means separation.
9. Avoid White or Black Objects as a gift.
White and Black colors are mostly used in funerals. So avoid them.