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What Is a Red Envelope in Chinese Culture
  • 26 May 2017


Sending red envelopes is a custom for Chinese New year. Chinese love red because red symbolizes vitality, cheerfulness and good luck.

Handing out Chinese New year red envelopes to the younger generation (according to the Chinese concept, married people are adults) means to bring good wishes and good luck to them. The money in the red envelope is just to make the children happy. Its main meaning is  red paper, because it symbolizes good luck. Therefore, it is impolite to open a red envelope in front of the elders who gave red envelopes to you.

The original red culture is a kind of normal interpersonal relationship from Chinese reciprocity, embodied in harmony and friendly complex. Over the past several hundred years until today, the meaning of red envelope didn’t change in essence.


In a foreign country, some friends from other ethnic who contacts with Chinese is also in the routine of Chinese red culture. The folk, the community and the company follow the example.

In the last year of the Dragon Spring Festival, the mayor of San Francisco, Brown,  at the beginning of the month and Chinese new year, also send red envelopes gift money to the public. It shown festival atmosphere and communication of Chinese and American culture thoroughly.

What is more, some banks and businesses release envelopes from the building above release envelopes, during the Spring Festival. Red envelopes flying all over the sky, like Fallen petals lie in profusion. The streets were crowded with people rushing to the streets. People rushed not for that little red envelopes that not worth mentioning a dollar, but for the auspicious figure , felicitous wish of making money next year.

In the 40s of last century, a film company in Shanghai made a new film in which a foreigner was shot. Afterwards, the producer sent a red envelope to the foreign guest who was "foreigner". The actor knows that the red envelope is money, but I don't know what the money for. When he knew that this is "misfortunes auspicious money", he laughed, also said that after "Call me, next time,if you have this kind of works. ".

All of these are not red envelopes of etiquette. These red envelopes is with the meaning of Good Quxie, praying for peace and luck, mercy and spiritual consolation.

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