Chinese New Year 2017: Top superstitions observed to mark the year of the rooster

Celebrations around the world are already underway for the Chinese New Year, which begins on 28 January.

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People watch a dragon dance during a celebration before the Chinese Lunar New Year Reuters

Celebrations around the world are already underway for the Chinese New Year, which begins on 28 January.

The Chinese zodiac calendar - known as Sheng Xiao - is divided into 12 cycles. Each cycle lasts 12 months and is represented by an animal. This year, it is the Year of the Rooster.

Chinese culture is rich in customs, traditions and superstitions. Scroll down to take a look at the top Chinese superstitions.

  • Cleaning home before the start of the New Year: Ahead of the festive time, families clean their houses to get rid of any misfortune associated with the past year and make room for welcoming good luck.
  • Wear something red: The colour red is considered to be the ultimate luck bringer at this time of year. Red envelopes with money are given to children and unmarried people.
  • Don't wear black: Black clothing is avoided as it relates to death and mourning.
  • Mandarin oranges: The practice of giving Mandarin oranges is also a symbol of good luck. They are exchanged in two's among friends and family, relating to the Chinese saying that "good things come in pairs".
  • No gifting clocks: Watches or time pieces are avoided because they symbolise time is running out or end of relationships.
  • Pay all your debts: Some believe that not paying off debts ahead of the New Year may result in ending the year the same way. Lending money is also discouraged as it may mean that the person will be lending money throughout the year.
  • Avoid using sharp objects: Using knives or scissors are avoided as they may cut off fortune.
  • No ghost stories: Children and adults are not allowed to tell ghost stories, as they relate to death and negative energy.
  • No washing hair: Chinese people believe that it is important not to wash their hair on the first day of the New Year as it may wash away one's luck.
  • Using fireworks: Lighting firecrackers is a major custom performed to scare off evil spirits and celebrate the coming of the New Year.