The most important of Chinese holidays is the Lunar New Year with over a billion people in China and millions around the world celebrate it. In Asia, it is celebrated in China, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. However, it is also celebrated in many Chinatowns and Asian homes around the world. It is considered a time to honor deities and ancestors and to be with family. It marks the end of the coldest days, welcome spring, new beginnings, and a fresh start.
At Lunar New Year, it has been a long tradition to give the gift of a bright, beautiful red envelope to friends and family. It contains cash and symbolizes good wishes and luck for the new year ahead. In Chinese and other East Asian cultures, the red color symbolizes good luck and prosperity. It is traditionally between close family and friends. As a young or middle-aged adult, you are expected to give for children and for parents and elders. As modern time emerges, the tradition of giving red envelopes to your co-worker’s and higher-up’s children has now emerged and is used for social networking. Between friends, it can be just for fun while it can be an act of politeness between acquaintances.
There are no set rules on how much money should be given, though they say the closer you are, the heftier the sum. Lucky money ranges anywhere from 200-1000 CNY (approx. 39 CAD - 198 CAD). The thickest envelope is usually reserved for the parents. As for acquaintances, coworkers, or friends that you’re not too close with, 10-50 CNY(approx. 1 CAD to 9 CAD) would be enough. Regardless of the amount of lucky money, the number is still very important. In Northern China, whole numbers (the 50s and 100s) are favored. In the South, traditional numbers are the way to go. Those are numbers that include 6 or 8.
In the past years, Lunar New Year is usually celebrated with an iconic parade and fireworks to welcome the coming year. However, it will likely look different this 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Thanks to technology, platforms like WeChat and Alipay provide digital red envelopes as part of their service. But in case you need another option, an online money transfer is the best way. No need to line up at the bank. Safe and convenient, you can easily send money to your family and friends at the comfort of your own home.
Download the Remitbee App now and sign up for your free account. There’s also no fee to pay when you send over $500.
Happy New Year!