The Chinese New Year sees some of the biggest celebrations on the planet.

This year a billion people will be marking the Year of the Rat with many traditions to ensure the upcoming 12 months are full of good health and good luck.

Celebrations for Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, start the day before and continue for more than two weeks until the fifteenth day of the new year.

This is a time to be with family and observe traditions to ensure a healthy year ahead. This includes a list of things to avoid if you wish to steer clear of a year's worth of bad luck or illness.

1. Welcoming the New Year

Fireworks
Fireworks

Tradition dictates that people must stay up late to welcome in the New Year. Once it's arrived people then let off firecrackers and fireworks in order to ward off spirits and the New Year monster, Nian.

2. New Year's breakfast

Porridge

The morning after you'd be wanting a good, hearty breakfast. However it's worth avoiding the porridge.

Porridge was associated with being poor in Chinese tradition, something many people see as an omen.

So while it's high in dietary fibre and can keep you feeling full for longer, for one day it's worth skipping and finding something else for breakfast.

3 . Laundry

Your laundry may be dirtier than you realise

One chore that you have a good reason to avoid doing!

Why? Well it's said that the first and second days are celebrated as the birthday of Shuishen (水神, the Water God). So for two days you can ignore that laundry pile!

4. Sweeping

Broomstick
Leave that broomstick alone for 24 hours

Another chore to be ignored is sweeping. If you sweep your house on Chinese New Year then your wealth will join the dust in being swept away.

5. Washing hair

Woman washing her hair in shower

Another chore to remove from the to-do list!

Do not wash your hair on the first day of the lunar year. If you do then you'll be "washing your fortune away" because in the Chinese language, hair (发) has the same pronunciation and character as 'fa' in facai (发财), which means 'to become wealthy'.

6. Medicine

Antibiotics
Antibiotics are not the answer on Chinese New Year

If you're feeling ill on Chinese New Year then it's worth avoiding the temptation to take medicine for 24 hours.

If you do then you'll get (or stay ill) for a whole year, something that would be as unpopular as it is unpleasant.

7. Going out

Chinese New Year means bad news for women who like to go out. Leaving the house on the first day of the lunar year means 12 months of bad luck.

A married daughter cannot visit her parents either. It's believed that doing so brings the parents bad luck and economic hardship for the family.

8. Crying children

Make sure you keep the kids happy

It's even more important than usual to keep your beloved children happy. A crying child is thought to being a family bad luck.

9. Giving of certain gifts

Clocks, scissors and pears must be not be given as gift as all have a bad meaning in Chinese culture.

10. Debt

Try and paid any outstanding debts by New Year's Eve and avoid borrowing money on New Year's Day.

If you're owed money do not go to the home of the person who owes you and demand the cash. It's said that anyone who does will have a year's worth of bad luck.

11. Monochrome fashion

A bit of colour goes a long way on Chinese New Year. White or black clothes are banned as these two colours are traditionally associated with mourning.

12. Damaged clothes

Sure, they look trendy, but they can bring bad luck

Whatever you do pick from your wardrobe must also be in good condition. Threadbare duds can cause more bad luck for the year.

13. Killing things

It probably doesn't come as a surprise to learn that blood is considered an ill omen. Killing anything or spilling blood will cause misfortunes such as a knife wound, or 'a bloody disaster'...

14. Sharp objects

Maybe best to keep clear of the sharp objects for the day then.

Using knives and scissors is definitely a no-no as it's related to losing wealth. Any accident involving these is thought to lead to 'inauspicious things' - including 'the depletion of wealth'.

15. An empty rice jar

Keep your food jars full over Chinese New Year

Any empty storage container (not just a rice jar) is considered to be a bad omen during the New Year period.

16. Theft

It's preferable to steer clear of this at all times but being a victim of theft during the Spring Festival is even worse than usual. It's thought to represent all of your wealth being stolen in the coming year. Ouch!