Fashion shopping in Hong Kong

Why giving shoes as a Chinese New Year gift will bring bad luck – give trousers instead for good fortune

The word ‘shoe’ sounds similar to the word ‘evil’ in Mandarin or ‘rough’ in Cantonese, so giving footwear as a present is a big no-no. ‘Trousers’ in Cantonese sounds like ‘wealth’ though, which can only be a good thing

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 February, 2018, 7:17pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 February, 2018, 7:16pm

Want to treat yourself to a new pair of shoes with your bonus or hard-earned lai-see money? You may have to put those Louboutins on hold if you want to keep luck on your side for the Year of the Dog.

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According to Chinese tradition, giving shoes as a gift is a tricky business in general. Chinese custom dictates that giving someone a pair of shoes is considered bad luck, all year round.

The reason behind the superstition? The pronunciation for the word “shoe” sounds similar to the word “evil” in Mandarin or “rough” in Cantonese, thereby signalling rocky times are ahead for both the giver and receiver.

In the case of friendships, this could result in the breakdown or end of the relationship. The prognosis is even worse for couples, with shoe giving ending in either a break-up or your partner walking away from you, literally (and hopefully not in the shoes you gave them!)

So when it comes to Chinese New Year, it is advisable not to buy shoes in the first few days – and especially on the first day – as they will only bring a bumpy year ahead.

If you can’t quell the urge to shop, then swap your shoes for trousers instead. In Cantonese, the word for “trousers” sounds like “wealth”, which means that your trouser pockets will be filled with more than just good luck.

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Not only will you score a new wardrobe piece but potentially enough money to buy those shoes – eventually.