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Chinese New Year Feature – Who and What Is the Red Envelope for?

    (Image: Monica Song)(Image: Monica Song)(Image: Monica Song)(Image: Monica Song)(Image: Monica Song)(Image: Monica Song)(Image: SW)

    One of the most important and well-known traditions of Chinese New Year is receiving a red envelope/packet from your boss, parents, or relatives. Red Envelopes are given to kids and elders to share the blessing.

    If you are the bread winner of the family, you will be the one to prepare and hand out the red packets for the young and old. It is good to give some lucky money to the elderly so they have something when they go out during New Year celebrations.

    Who receives the red packets?

    According to tradition, red packets or lucky money is for young children and the unmarried. The young are always on the lookout for these packets. If they have more relatives or more visitors during the holidays they can get quite a lot. The envelopes for children are called “ya shui qian,” which means “giving lucky money to welcome the New Year.”

    Usually parents or grandparents give red packets not only to their own children, but their nieces, nephews, and children of friends and colleagues. Words of thanks and greetings are a must when getting red packets. The usual greeting is “wishing you more success.”

    Employees can also receive red packets when they start working after the New Year. The boss in a company will distribute the red envelopes to employees when they return to work after the Chinese New Year. Those red packets are called “Li shi.”

    Usually the amount received can range from 100 yuan (US $10) to 1000 yuan (US $150), depending on how wealthy the family is.

    Relative’s kids: 200 yuan- 1,000 yuan (US $30 – $152)
    Other acquaintances’ children: 50 yuan – 100 yuan (US $10 – US $15)
    Employees: 50 yuan – 500 yuan (US $10 – US $100)

    Other occasions to give red envelopes

    In China, people present a red packet/envelope when attending wedding ceremonies or birthday parties for the elderly. The envelopes are also presented when people visit a couple with a newborn baby. The amount received varies according to individual’s status.

    Different styles of red envelopes

    1. Fish symbolizes a profitable business and surplus in everything.

      angpao

      (Image: Monica Song)

    2. One of these red envelopes has the with word “Fu” on it, which means wealth. Most of these red envelopes are associated with money and wealth.

      angpao

      (Image: Monica Song)

    3. Some of the red packets have cute animations on them, like the middle one with the cute dog and cat.

      angpao

      (Image: Monica Song)

    4. This is greeting card sent to me by a friend. The big Chinese character is ” 福” which means good luck and make a big fortune. It is a very popular word written on posters or red envelopes. The four small words underneath mean: “Golden monkey sends good luck to you.” Isn’t it cute?

      monkey year greetings

      (Image: Monica Song)

    5. Most supermarkets, even little ones, sell good posters and plants for Chinese New Year celebrations.

      monkey year greetings

      (Image: Monica Song)

    6.  The big word on this cute monkey poster means: “Money comes with good luck.”

      (Image: Monica Song)

      (Image: Monica Song)

    7. This greeting cards says: “Wish you good health and everything goes smoothly.”

      2016 greetings

      (Image: Monica Song)

    8. In this photo the fish is pictured with ancient money.
      auspicious fish deco

      (Image: Monica Song)

      9. The golden orange means having more kids and prosperous. The red packet means having more money.

      auspicious plant

      (Image: Jenny Wu)

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