When Can You Open Red Pocket Money? The Importance of Ang Pao Giving
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What is Written on Chinese Red Envelopes? New Year Ang Pao Guide
Red envelopes, also called as red pocket, lucky money, ang pao, hongbao, lai see, etc. is a tradition of giving money to others such as children, grandparents, parents, etc. as a gift, wishing good luck, happiness and blessings to the receiver.
Red is a traditional color since it symbolizes happiness, energy and most of all good luck. Chinese people love this color, and this is why the red paper is more significant than the money inside an ang pao.
During the Chinese New Year celebration, ang pao giving is an important tradition because it is believed that whoever receives it are wished another peaceful and safe year.
The giving and receiving of red pocket money build relationships within family and friends. But when is the right time to open it? There’s a simple etiquette tip for this: NEVER open the packet in front of the giver. You will have to wait that you have finished your conversation, and that you are out of the giver’s sight.
But there are still individuals who follow the strict tradition wherein the red envelopes can only be opened on the 15th day in the lunar calendar’s first month. However, if you’re really tempted to open it, do it privately since it can be very rude to do it in front of the giver.
How to Give and Receive a Red Envelope Money during Chinese New Year
There are different types of red envelope etiquette, which is why it can become confusing at times to some people during the New Year celebration. Here is a comparison between mainland China and Singapore:
- Generally, working adults have to give red packets to children, family and close friends.
- To express gratitude and respect, it is common to give to parents and grandparents.
- The amount to put inside a red packet differs, ranging from hundreds to thousands of yuan ($30 to $150 or more).
- For urban Chinese workers, the social demands of red packet giving can be stressful since they need to find enough money to cover for financial needs.
- The amount depends on how close the giver and receiver are. The rate would range from $2 to $100 or more. Red packet giving is a sign of good will, which means you don’t need to push your finances if you can’t meet the target.
Common Dos and DON’Ts:
- Number 4 is no-no since this is associated with misfortune and death. So don’t put any amount that has this number.
- The number 8 is a lucky number and is believed to be auspicious. So you will want to give red packets with this number.
- New things are always preferred in Chinese tradition which is why you will only want to give crisp and new notes.
- According to tradition, married couples are the usually the ones to give ang paos but there are also others that don’t follow it, especially in their first year of marriage. The practice now depends on every family.
- Giving and receiving of red packets should be done by using both hands.
- Always say your well wishes to the giver.
Should You Give a Red Envelope the Traditional or the WeChat Way?
Traditionally, you give your monetary gift through the use of red envelopes not just in Chinese New Year but also in other events such as weddings, birthdays, graduation, etc.; However, due to the technological advancements today, there are tech companies developing other fun and interesting ways to share their blessings online and one of them is the use of WeChat app.
Many still like the idea of doing it traditionally since red packets these days have also evolved through the different design elements that you can add, the types of paper and other things that can be done just to make it look attractive and eye-catching. Believe it or not, some are even collecting red packets from different brands, especially those that are limited edition or made with complicated designs.
Aside from that, the giving and receiving of the “real thing” are still highly valued because of the fact that you can hand the packet over personally to another and give you the opportunity to bond or socialize, not just within your family but also with other people.
With regards to doing it the WeChat way, it was launched in January 2014 and eventually gained popularity over time. Just in 2016, about 2.3 billion transactions were done through this app. The receiver will have a monetary gift in “virtual credit” form and deposited in the WeChat Pay account, which can be used to purchase items later.
One good advantage of this app is that you can give digital red packets, share your blessings and wish them good luck even to those who are far, especially during the Chinese New Year.
What do you think is best for you?
Simple Steps on How to Make Your Own Packet
Since you have two options: traditional and digital way, you might want to try making your own red envelope. You can even teach these simple steps to kids or even kids at heart. Decorate it in any way you want as long as you use the right materials and design elements.
What you need:
- Construction paper – Red color
- Gold pen
- Stickers that you can use to decorate.
- Envelope template that you need to print and cut. You can re-adjust the size of the template below.
- Print the template above and cut it. Put it on top of the red construction paper. Use it to trace the outline.
- Fold in sides A and B and use glue to seal it.
- Fold up the bottom part or letter D to seal it.
- Fold the top part or letter C to create a crease, you can leave that part open so you can put your money inside it.
- Decorate the front part of the envelope with drawings and stickers.
How to Send Red Packet in WeChat
If you’re busy to make a red envelope or even buy one from a store, you can use the WeChat app. Here are the following steps:
- Sending to one person:
- Open WeChat app and then tap on the individual to begin the chat. Tap on the + icon located at the upper-right corner and then select ‘Red Packet’. Red packet option may not be available in some other countries.
- Enter the amount that you want to send. The only amount allowed is 200RMB to one person.
- Enter 200CNY to move forward. You can type in a message for your receiver together with the red packet transfer. Tap on the ‘Prepare Red Packet’ to send the money.
- You will be asked to approve the payment. Confirm by tapping on ‘Pay Now’, then validate the transaction with your pass code or touch ID if you are asked.
- After you’ve approved, the money will be transferred instantly. You will then see a message about the money transfer. You will also see message confirming that the receiver has opened the red envelope.
- Sending in Group Chat
- The process is similar when sending to one person. Open the group chat. Do similar steps mentioned above, but you will be seeing different options in there.
- Enter the amount that you like. It can be fixed or random.
- You will be showed the total members in the group chat. You can input less than or equal quantity to the total number.
- Enter your message and you’re ready.
- If you choose the fixed amount, so the total lucky money you send will be divided equally according to the number of people in the group chat. For the random option, every member will be receiving a random amount; the highest one is the luckiest. Any remaining amount will be given back to you after 24 hours.
- To nearby people
- Go to ‘Me > Wallet > Money you’ll see multiple options. Tap on ‘Packets Nearby’ and send to people nearby. A QR code will be provided by WeChat to be scanned and claimed. The QR code will be regenerated every minute; the receiver will mostly need to scan the code from your cellphone.
- You can reclaim the packets by tapping on the three buttons located at the upper-right
How Much Cash to Put Inside an Ang Pao
The giving of a red envelope usually depends on how financially capable you are, and how much you are willing to give. However, just to give you an idea, here are a few details.
- Parent and grandparents giving money to kids, the amount is usually $20 or just enough for them to buy a toy.
- Married individuals can give$10 to cousins and unmarried young adults within the extended family.
- Children giving to their parents, it’s generous to give around $50 to $100 or more.
- Those who visit their family and friends, about $20 or more for the host aside from the red packets that you prepared for the kids.
- Employers to employees, it is usually equal to one month pay during the start of the festival plus a smaller red token when the employee returns to work.
Feng Shui Year 2020: Does Giving Away of Lai See Bring More Luck to You?
For year 2020, the Chinese New Year will be on January 25; this date changes each year. However, the giving of red packets does not just happen in CNY; it is also practiced during weddings, birthdays, etc.
In Feng shui, it is believed that a red envelope with a gold I-Ching coin inside will be bringing good luck to the bearer of the packet whenever it is kept close and placed in a purse, wallet, accounting book or handbag.
Ang pao is also believed to be a holder of wishes by writing your aspirations and dreams in a red paper which is placed in the red packet. It is assumed that it inspires your thoughts to actualize.
Take note that this January 25 is not the actual date of placing your cures and enhancers of 2020 according to Feng shui philosophy, it should be set up on February 4, 2020.
2020 is Year of the Yang Metal Rat
The animal sign for year 2020 is White Rat, the name of the year is Male Metal Rat and since metal is connected to white, White Metal Rat is what this year is called.
According to the theory of Chinese Five Elements, the rat belongs to the water group, connected to rain, placid water and cold water. Water is associated to intelligence and wisdom, which is why the rat is considered clever, tactical and tricky. The rat has a lot of ideas, a keen vision and has the ability to solve problems quickly. The rat also has a strong memory, is brainy, brilliant, creative, active, agile, thoughtful, resourceful, alert and sharp-sighted. Other traits include quiet, gloomy, introverted, scheming and conspiring.
A rat leader owns power, makes decisions and may take advantage of other people and pressure them.
Zodiac Signs and Birth Years that Bring Luck
Here are Chinese zodiac facts that you will want to know:
- It is based on natural elements.
- It is based on years and not months.
- The 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac are joined with the five basic influences of earth, fire, water, metal and wood.
- A cycle of 10 years that is running concurrently with a cycle of 12 years will define whether the years in the cycle of 12 years are unfavorable or favorable ones.
- The Asian birth rates go up in the dragon years; this is considered as a favorable sign, but decline in tiger years, which is considered as years that yield difficult children.
The animals of the Chinese zodiac year are as follows:
- Pigs (1947, 1959, 71, 83, 95, 2007) – one of the unluckiest signs.
- Rats (1936, 1948, 60, 72, 84, 96) – dynamism and prosperity.
- Oxen or Buffalo (1937, 1949, 61, 73, 85, 97) – good leaders.
- Tigers (1938, 1950, 62, 74, 86, 98) – used as a shield against evil.
- Rabbits (1939, 1951, 63, 75, 87, 99) – luckiest of all signs.
- Dragons (1940, 1952, 64, 76, 88, 2000) – adventurous dreamers and has strong leadership abilities.
- Snakes (1941, 1953, 65, 77, 89, 2001) – wise, intense, beautiful and handsome.
- Horses (1942, 1954, 66, 78, 90, 2002) – unlucky sign.
- Sheep and Goats (1943, 1955, 67, 79, 91, 2003) – elegant and creative.
- Monkeys (1944, 1956, 68, 80, 92, 2004) – intelligent but easily discouraged.
- Roosters (1945, 1957, 69, 81, 93, 2005) – creative and knowledge seekers.
- Dogs (1946, 1958, 70, 82, 94, 2006) – loyal but sometimes selfish.
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