You know it is the time of the year where festivity beckons; you see hordes of mandarin oranges stocked up at home, ubiquitous streaks of red decorations and your Facebook newsfeed is flooded with the calorie count of various goodies.
For all the kids and unwedded singletons out there, there is no other occasion that we adore more than Chinese New Year because this is the time we receive extra pocket money!
Undoubtedly, adults packing red packets tackle the daunting task of deciding how much they have to pack in each red packet. On one hand, they do not want to spend too much and on the other, continue the festive tradition of giving red packets. So in this article, we will share some guidelines with you on how much to pack the perfect Ang Bao!
1) Do The Math!
Some meticulous calculations are inevitable when you are preparing your red packets. Married couples are no longer “eligible” for receipt of ang baos and they are expected to give others red packets. So, assuming that you have only one kid and your brother’s got 5, you cannot expect yourself to give each kid a big $20 ang bao because that would amount to about $100 for just one family. Go easy on yourself, set aside a budget for the family of say $50 and split it evenly among the kids ($10 ang bao each).
2) How Big Is the Ang Bao?
The monetary gift in the red packet is often dependent on the relationship between the distributor and recipient. I have observed that immediate family members (Father and Mother) are more generous with their ang baos compared to distant relatives. So it is not advisable to prepare a $4 red packet for your nephew and a $50 red packet for your uncle’s cousin’s son (I no idea what this complicated relationship is called but you can simplify it with ‘Ah boy’).
3) Chinese Superstitions
Also, most Chinese are exceptionally superstitious during the Lunar New Year. One aspect is the amount of cash in a red packet as different numbers have varying symbols and signify different intents. For example, the number 4 sounds like a chinese word for death. Therefore, when preparing red packets, it is best that we avoid this number as much as possible. However in the contrary, some traditional Teo chews see the number 4 rather differently since the number 4 can also sound like another word which means smooth-sailing. The best solution out of this controversy is to just stick with the number 8, which undisputedly signifies fortune to all.
4) Unspoken Rules of Ang Baos
Do you know that the amounts contained in red packets are usually an even numbered value? This is because the Chinese believes that even numbers are more suitable for joyous occasions like Chinese New Year and Wedding celebrations. In addition, it is important you refrain from using crumpled and dirty notes. Fresh banknotes are preferred as it signifies prosperity, wealth and fortune in the new year. So stop procrastinating, go grab the fresh banknotes as soon as possible!
At the end of the day, how much you pack in each red packet is not the most crucial part of the entire occasion since Chinese New Year is not just about receiving extra pocket money, in fact the monetary value is merely an added bonus. What is more important during Chinese New Year is to have your entire family come together to celebrate this joyous moment. Remember the tips above but if you are feeling generous and that you received an extra big ang bao from your bosses, why not spread the joy to your nephews and nieces as well! 🙂
Heres wishing Gong Xi Fa Cai and a Happy Chinese New Year to all!