These six New Year’s taboos mean you’ll be doing a lot less cooking, fighting and random spending at the start of the year.

Every country has its own New Year traditions, and superstitions that come with it. On the stroke of midnight every year, I and countless other Brits open the back door to “let the old year out” and then the front door to “let the New Year in.” In the Philippines you might see houses light up in every room to ensure a bright new year, and in Spain 12 grapes are eaten for good luck in each coming month.

But what should you do – or more specifically, NOT do – to ensure good luck in a Japanese household? A list of six New Year taboos is making the rounds on the Internet with the most important rules to guarantee a lucky year ahead. These rules are meant to be followed during the New Year period, which starts on January 1 and lasts until January 3 (though if you want to observe them on the next three days after you read this instead, we won’t tell).

1. NO Cleaning

▼ “Has someone been CLEANING?”

You might think that the New Year period is the perfect time to freshen up your abode with a little spring cleaning, However, if you clean you might scare away well-meaning spirits who come to visit your house, bearing tidings of good luck! Better just to leave it messy until the 4th.

2. NO Kitchen Knives

▼ For extra sacrilege, cut a kagami mochi with one

This one has a bunch of superstitions around it, but the one most often relayed is that if you abstain from using any blades for the three-day New Year period that you’ll have a healthy, safe year ahead of you. Other superstitions say that using a knife to cut things during this time will result in you cutting through your ties with other people, too…Eep!

3. NO Boiling with Fire

▼ It’s a good way to cook up some bad luck

This one is a bit of a language pun – boiling things in a pot over the fire usually leads to a foamy film over the top of the water, known in Japanese as aku (灰汁). Aku is also the word for ‘bad’ (悪)… So boiling water causes bad luck to form. Best to stick to frying, grilling or searing for those three days.

4. NO Eating any Animals that Walk on Four Legs

▼ So don’t start your Year of the Boar by cooking up some pork

This seems to originate from Buddhist teachings, which prohibit taking life in general. It’s thought to have specifically started with Emperor Tenmu, the 40th emperor of Japan, who prohibited the consumption of meat in 675 AD (the ban was repealed later, obviously).

5. NO Fighting

▼ Time to bury those bad feelings!

The sentiment is that you should start your year as you mean to go on, and if you spend this vital period at the start of the year squabbling then it will affect your luck in relationships for the rest of the year. Swallow the insults and try to make up for the sake of your future relations!

6. NO Careless Spending

▼ “I shouldn’t have bought all that fish sausage…”

They say that if you spend too freely in the start of the year, it’ll be impossible to save throughout the rest of it…Which makes sense even on the practical level. Apparently this superstition doesn’t apply to any expenditure necessary to attend your first shrine visit of the year, called “hatsumode,” so make of that what you will.

How did you fare this year? Unfortunately I ate a pork bun on New Year’s Day that instantly disqualified me from the top tier of good luck, but let’s hope that no matter how many of these superstitions we broke we can all have a happy and fulfilling year, just the same!

Source: My Game News Flash
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert images: Pakutaso (1,2,3,4,5,6)