Chinese New Year angpao is definitely something to look forward to especially if you are the recipient. In general, the renowned red envelopes containing money are given by older people and married couples to children and those who are still not married. So, how much should you give? Or how much can you expect if you’re still receiving your angpao this year?
What Is the Significance of Angpao During CNY?
The practice of giving angpao has been assimilated into other cultures in Malaysia. For instance, duit raya is given out during Hari Raya Aidilfitri. During CNY, giving away ang pao has developed into a cultural practice.
The red colour of the envelope signifies luck and is a symbol to fend off evil spirits. The images on the envelope usually offer blessings and well wishes of longevity, prosperity, and good health to the recipient. Although ang pao may now be found in orange, pink, and yellow hues, its significance remains the same.
The History of Chinese New Year Angpao
According to popular belief, this practice began during the Qin Dynasty (221 BC–206 BC), when elders would gift younger generations with coins strung on red strings as ya sui qian which means “money to ward off old spirits”. It was believed that the purpose of it was shield the recipient from sickness and death.
Red envelopes eventually took the place of the ya sui qian as printing presses became more common. When the phrase ya su qián is written with the homophone for su, the meaning changed from”evil spirits” to “old age”. Hence, the phrase is now known as “money to ward off old age.”
Giving money still has significant meaning for the Chinese community today, even though it now does so it now given in the form of red packets more commonly referred to as angpaos. “Gong Xi Fài, Hóng Bóná Lái!” is the typical greeting that you may hear and this signifies blessings for wealth and good fortune.
How Much Angpao to Give Parents, Family Members and Others?
As CNY fast approaching, you’re probably still wondering what is the best amount for you to give to your parents, siblings or other family members. In the Chinese culture, the popular number eight which is pronounced as ba which has the similar sound for the word “prosperity”.
Some of the highly common number combinations include 88 (double prosperity), 168 (smooth luck and prosperity), and 288 (easy to gain prosperity). Here is how much the middle-class population typically gives for Chinese New Year:
- Parents or in-laws: Around RM88 to RM188 (some even give up to RM388 or more);
- Own children: Around RM50 to RM100 (some even give up to RM388 or more);
- Young grandchildren: Around RM8 to RM38;
- Children of friends or relatives: Around RM5 to RM10.
Besides the highly popular number eight, there are also some numbers which carry good meanings. Due to its homophone with the words easy and brilliant, the number two, which is pronounced yih in Cantonese, is seen as positive
Another number is six, which is pronounced liu and appears in the expression “liù liù dà shun,” which means “smooth success”. Number nine, which is pronounced jiu and is also pronounced like the term for “longevity”, was once linked to the Chinese Emperor.
The most important thing that you should never do is give an amount which has number four in it. Avoid the unlucky number four at all cost because it is pronounced as si which means “death”. So, do not give RM4, RM14, RM44 or any amount which has si in it.
How to Send Angpao Online?
It is now more convenient than ever to make angpao transactions as you can go digital. Here are alternatives you may consider to send angpao online. How to send angpao online? You may do so through:
- e-Wallet transfer (Boost, Grab and Touch N Go);
- e-Angpao or e-Ang Pow;
- Bank transfer.
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Ultimately, this Chinese New Year Angpao guide is just a general suggestion and it’s totally up to you to decide how much you intend to give. Hence, don’t feel obligated to give more than what you have! We understand that you are generous but it’s also important to save money for your future. Remember to not burden yourself by overspending on giving angpaos this year. Happy Chinese New Year from Qoala!
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