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Jaxon Hill
Jaxon Hill

Where To Buy Red Envelopes HOT!

As traditions are passed from generation to generation, the original meanings and reasons behind the practice are often lost or obscured by new adapted forms. In other instances, the practice itself may change while the reasons for the event remain the same. The Chinese practice of giving money in red envelopes on the Lunar New Year is a prime example of something that has undergone such a change.

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The traditional red envelopes that hold the monetary gifts date back to the ancient tradition of celebrating the Lunar New Year in Chinese culture. The legends associated with the origins of the red envelopes vary, but most include a magical and evil entity that was defeated. Although most people agree that the red envelope tradition is centuries old and, there is some debate over whether money has always been a part of the tradition, or whether the money became a part of the tradition at a later stage. Michael Hanna, a writer of an advice centre regarding the etiquettes of the red envelope tradition, states that the red envelopes originated in the Sung Dynasty in China, when a young orphan defeated a huge demon terrorizing the village of Chain-Chieu. Although the greatest warriors of the time could not defeat this demon, the young orphan was able to kill the demon by using a magical saber. To show their gratitude, the elders of the village presented the orphan with a red envelope filled with money.

Another popular legend states that the red color of the envelopes stems from when people used to paste red-paper couplets on their doors in order to scare away Nien, a ferocious beast that eats people on New Years Eve. In addition, a Taiwanese government site states that the custom of the red envelopes dates back to the Quing dynasty, rather than the Sung Dynasty. In their recollection of the red envelope tradition, the elders of a family traditionally gave the children one hundred coins weaved into the shape of a dragon. However, the hundred coins proved to be inconvenient to give out, and this tradition eventually evolved into the modern tradition of giving paper money in red envelopes. Although many people have theories, no one can give a definitive answer as to how the red envelope tradition started and then evolved into the practices that are used today.

Although the majority of the envelopes are given on the Lunar New Year, this tradition does not always occur on the actual day of the Lunar New Year. Because there are often obstacles to seeing all friends, family members, and acquaintances on the one day, people usually begin giving the red envelopes in the weeks and days surrounding the Lunar New Year. There have also been instances of red envelopes being mailed by a relative living out of state. In addition, many families use the red envelopes during other occasions, such as holidays, birthdays, and weddings. Unlike in the United States where people often bring goods as wedding gifts, in Taiwan and China it is much more common to give gifts of cash using the red envelopes.

The most widely used contemporary function of the red envelopes is to give cash as a gift. The cash is placed within the envelope and then given to the recipient. The most common time of year when this occurs is during the Lunar New Year that is celebrated by Asian cultures. During this time adults, traditionally defined as a married people, give out the red envelopes to children and the young adults who have yet to marry. The envelopes are usually given out to relatives and close friends of the family. When giving out the envelopes, the value of the money inside the envelope is decided on by the giver and is usually a reflection of the relationship to the receiver. Thus, if the giver and receiver have a close relationship, such as parent and child, then the receiver will typically get a higher denomination gift than if they had received the envelope from a distant relative. The denominations given can get very substantial in size, from hundreds of dollars, for those very close relations and they can also range down to as little as one dollar given as a symbolic gesture.

Although the images on the front of the envelopes vary drastically, they all are said to garner blessings and good wishes. Many envelopes include images of animals such as dragons and bulls, while others have a family name or the name of a corporation or business imprinted on the front. In addition, more modern manifestations of the envelopes include cute cartoon depictions of various characters and animals. The actual bills contained inside are usually crisp, brand new bills. One source claims old worn bills carry with them the bad luck of the past year. These examples are manifestations of the symbolic energy attached to the color red; they bestow energy into someone involved with the red envelopes

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These premium red envelopes feature the Chinese character for blessings (福) to wish the baby a life filled with abundance and prosperity. Blooming flowers and brilliant hot foil stamping in red and gold complete the auspicious motif.

These premium red envelopes feature the Chinese character for fullness (满) to wish the baby a life filled with satisfaction and joy. Blooming flowers and brilliant hot foil stamping in red and gold complete the auspicious motif.

These premium red envelopes feature the Chinese character for luck (祥) to wish the baby a life filled with success and achievement. Blooming flowers and brilliant hot foil stamping in red and gold complete the auspicious motif.

According to Priscilla Cheng, executive director of New York City non-profit Meals for Unity, the custom of giving red envelopes originates from an ancient story about a demon named Sui, who "would regularly make its appearance at night to terrify children while they were sleeping."

On the eve of Lunar New Year, a child would be given eight coins to play with at night (the number eight is auspicious in some Asian traditions). "The child would wrap the coins in red paper, open the packet, rewrap it and reopen it until he was too tired to continue, and fall asleep," says Cheng. "The eight coins wrapped in red paper were placed under his pillow. When Sui tried to touch the child's head, the eight coins emitted a strong light and scared the demon away. The eight coins turned out to be eight fairies." And so, explains Cheng, "giving red envelopes became a Lunar New Year tradition to keep children safe and bring good luck." While customs vary across Asian countries and cultures, Cheng is Taiwanese-American and grew up celebrating Lunar New Year by partaking in a red envelope exchange, wearing red to bed for an extra boost of luck in the new year and eating noodles, tangyuan (a dessert made of rice balls), dumplings and more.

"紅包 (hong bao) in Mandarin or 利是 (lai see) in Cantonese are red envelopes containing cash gifts for friends, family and loved ones during Lunar New Year," says Los Angeles-based Joey Ng, Chief Marketing Officer of Yami, the largest online Asian marketplace in the U.S. Since the tradition has its roots in folklore, Ng explains, "the power of the red envelope is in the red paper itself and not the cash gift inside." "It's actually not the money inside that is lucky, it's the red envelope!" echoes Kristie Hang, a TV host and journalist and expert in Chinese food and culture, who's also based in Los Angeles. Hang elaborates that the color red itself denotes happiness, good luck and serves to ward off bad luck, all ideal to clean the slate for the new year. "There are people who use them as a good luck charm and keep them unopened for the entire year," adds Hang.

Red envelopes are traditionally given hierarchically: from elders to younger members of a family, such as grandparents to grandchildren, or married couples to single siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews, as well as from bosses to employees. "Your doorman, mail worker, server or Uber driver might all receive an extra tip in the form of a red envelope as thanks," Ng explains. "It's rarely the other way around. The only exception to the seniority order of gifting is when adult children give red envelopes to their aging parents and grandparents as a sign of honor and respect." Elderly community members are also given red envelopes on Lunar New Year.

Red envelopes are often decorated beautifully with Chinese calligraphy and symbols. Ng explains that red envelopes are often embossed with gold illustrations, calligraphy and greetings: the red symbolizes good luck, gold symbolizes prosperity.

While some people customize their envelopes with their family name, generally speaking, the envelopes usually have an auspicious saying wishing good luck and a blessing. "Many times there will be a picture of the zodiac year and maybe even a pun using the zodiac animal in a greeting," Hang explains.

During Lunar New Year, it is tradition to give the gift of a bright, beautiful red envelopes filled with money to friends and family to wish them fortune and good luck for the new year ahead. Fill these with money, chocolate coins, or candy for Lunar New Year gifting! 041b061a72


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