Chinese New Year 2017: Significance of red envelopes, amount of money to gift in them

By @garima_satija on
RTR4QLTS
A red envelope is given out during Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations in Liverpool, northern England February 22, 2015. Reuters/Phil Noble

Gifting money in red envelopes is a well-observed custom during the Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival. People in China gift money wrapped in red envelopes to children and elders as New Year gifts as this is supposed to bring luck and fortune in their lives.

Here are all that you need to know about red money envelopes, their significance and the amount of money one shall give on Chinese New Year 2017.

Significance of red colour

The red packet in Chinese is called “yasui qian” that means “suppressing ghost money.”According to the Chinese New Year culture, the red colour is believed to bring happiness, energy and good luck. Hence, gifting red packets is said to bring good luck and happiness in the coming year.

Adults cannot recieve red money envelopes

Red envelopes are not given to adults, particularly those in the working class. Working adults are the givers whereas kids and retired seniors are the receivers. However, employees are exception for this custom and they may be given red envelopes as gifts for Chinese New Year. 

Gifting rules for unmarried people

According to the Chinese New Year tradition, unmarried people are not allowed to gift red packets to children and elderly, mainly because of the reason that they are financially dependent on their parents. Hence, children and young dependants are the receivers of these red money envelope gifts.

Opening the red money envelopes at the right time

The significance of red money envelopes is most associated with the colour of the envelope and not the money inside it. Hence, gifting red envelope filled with money is a blessing that is said to bring happiness and good luck in the lives of whom they are gifted to. For this reason, opening the envelope in front of the person who has given it is considered impolite.

The right amount of money to gift in red envelopes

The amount of money that one shall gift in the these red envelopes depends on the seniority as well as economic status of the sender. Furthermore, it also depends on the age and connection of the child with the sender. The closer the relative, the higher may be the amount.

  • To elders - 400-2,000 yuan (AU$ 77- AU$386 approx)
  • To kids - 50-200 yuan (AU$10- AU$77 approx)
  • To own kids - 100 yuan (AU$19 approx)
  • To employees - 100-1,000 yuan (AU$19- AU$193 approx)
    (Employees are given these gifts on the last working day before the Chinese New Year holiday)
  • To other kids - 10-20 yuan (AU$2- AU$4 approx)

Since currency value differs from country to country, the amount to be added in the red envelopes may vary according to the country of the receiver. The idea is to hand over good fortune. Small amount will mean small fortune. Hence, this Chinese New Year 2017, choose a wise amount of money to gift your loved ones in red envelopes.

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