Monday, January 26, 2009

Hong Bao

Chinese New Year kicks off today, and the Year of the Ox begins.

As my birthday falls during celebration of Chinese New Year, I always received a small, red envelope from the Mandarin (one of my favourite birthday dinner locations as a child), with chocolates inside. It seems as though stuffing your mouth with chocolates also temporarily disables your hearing, especially when your parents are trying to explain a tradition to you. So here it is: an explanation of those small, red envelopes.

Giving Hong Bao, red packets or red envelopes, is a Chinese New Year tradition that symbolizes wealth and luck. It is usually handed out to younger generations on New Year’s Eve by their parents, grandparents, relatives, friends, and immediate family. Money given in this way may not be refused, as red is the lucky color and will bring good luck to the person receiving it. The money, Ya Sui Qian, meaning “suppressing age money,” is supposed to stop children from getting older. It is believed that everyone becomes one year older on New Year’s Day.


Lance said...

Not much you can do to celebrate it in this city, unfortunately. Red envelopes are probably the extent of the festivities in London.

Post a Comment